Four kilometers west from Phaistos Palace are the ruins of the Royal Villa, the Small Minoan Palace at Agia Triada. The site is named after the village of Agia Triada that is located next to it and was inhabited untill 1.897, when the Turks destroyed it. The Minoan name of the site is unknown .
At the site are the Minoan town, the palace and the tombs, excavated by Halbherr with L. Banti in 1902 and onwards. La Rosa resumed the excavation after 1976.
According to the archaeological evidence the area seems to have been inhabited as early as the end of the Neolithic period, approximately 3000 b.C. However, it is during the Late Minoan period (1660-1100 b.C.) that the site reaches its peak, as it is evidenced by the villa with the sanctuary excavated at the site of Kannia Mitropolis. The site continued to flourish in the Archaic period (7th century b.C.)and later, as it is shown both by the remains of the archaic settlement around the acropolis, and by the famous long inscription known as the Gortyn Law Code, which dates back to the 5th century b.C.
During the Hellenistic period (3rd -2nd centuries b.C.) Gortyn(a) was still active; the Roman domination (1st-5th century A.D.) signals another peak period for the city, which was an close ally of the Romans and the capital city not only of the island, but also of the province of Cyrene in Africa. It was here that Apostle Titus, the protector of Crete, preached Christianity in 250 A.D. and Aghioi Deka (the ten saints) died martyrs during the period of persecutions of Christians by the emperor Decius.
Excavations started in 1884 by Italian archaeologists and are still in progress. Along with the excavations restoration works, mainly of the ancient buildings, are being done throughout all this period of time. In what concerns the Gortyn Law Code it has been embodied in the Northern circular wall of the Odeon, which is now housed within a small recent structure for protection reasons.