The city of Lefkandi is situated between Chalkis and Eretria, in the region of Xeropolis of the Municipality of Liliandia, on the west coast of Euboea. Its location inside the well-protected Euboean gulf, between two small ports, encouraged its development. It seems that Lefkandi played a leading part in the history of the area and was a major trade centre with contacts across the Mediterranean to the Phoenician coast and all the way to the Black Sea. The Liliandion field, the fertile plain between Chalkida and Eretria, over which these two cities went to war in the early sixth century, is believed to have been located here.
The earliest traces of habitation at Lefkandi date back to the Early Bronze Age. An important settlement with trading contacts with other areas, particularly northeastern Aegean, was established on the hill during that period. Life in the settlement continued undisturbed during the Middle and Late Bronze ages, as indicated by its cemeteries and grave gifts, but there seems to have been a short break in the occupation of the area in the Early Iron Age.
Archaeological finds, particularly those from the cemeteries, show that the settlement thrived in the Geometric period, between 900 and 700 BC. Prior to this, during the Mycenaean period, Euboea was controlled by the Kingdom of Thebes, after whose fall Lefkandi appears to have been more independent and capable of controlling its own affairs. The new decorative repertoire on local pottery indicates that the people of Lefkandi developed contacts with the rest of the Aegean and the East. The settlement and cemeteries yielded important evidence for the Geometric period (1050-700 BC), which was not a time of demise and desolation despite the destruction of the Mycenaean world. The opulent finds, particularly the golden jewellery and luxurious items from the East, indicate that Lefkandi was an important settlement with active trade and a wealthy upper class. The cemeteries of the area ceased to be used around 800 BC and the settlement at Xeropolis was abandoned around 700 BC, possibly following the Liliantine war.
Excavations at Lefkandi began in the 1960s under the auspices of the British Archaeological School at Athens. The cemeteries were excavated by British archaeologists in co-operation with archaeologists of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture.