The surface survey at Mount Oxa started in 2017 under the auspices of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine Department of the Ministry of Culture and Sport (protocol number: ΥΠΠΟΑ/ΓΔΑΠΚ/ΔΒΜΑ/ΤΕΕΑΕΙ/ 357358/233390/6024/541). This deliberation granted the permission to the Ephorate of Antiquities of Lassithi to begin a new surface survey on Mount Oxa in collaboration with the Laboratory of Geophysical Satellite Remote Sensing and ArchaeoEnvironment at the Institute for Mediterranean Studies (FORTH), in a program articulated in three years (2017-2019).
Oxa is an archaeological site little known to the scientific community. Until now, due to the steepness of the landscape no archaeological research has been carried out at the site. There are only few bibliographical references about Oxa stressing the natural defensive character of the location and the possible existence of Classical or Hellenistic fortification. However, the extant archaeological remains on the summit of the mountain, which made up of a fragmentary preserved fortified circuit wall, water towers, cisterns and numerous buildings, are possibly dated to the Byzantine centuries and more specifically to the end of the Early Byzantine period.
Oros Oxa is the first archaeological surface survey project conducted at this site. It aims to understand the function, form and character of a fortified space in Crete, using a range of innovative interdisciplinary approaches. The objectives of the Oros Oxa project can be summarized as follows: