Paros according to mythology, was named after the Arcadian hero Parios, who around 1000 BC took over the island from the Ionians, who had in turn taken it from the Minoans in 1100 BC. However there is evidence of human civilization on Paros from well over 5000 years ago, one site in particular, Koukounaries, has yielded remains from as far back as that period in history.

Koukounaries is a rocky, granite hill, rising 75 m above sea level. It is situated just next to the water, in the great sheltered bay of Naousa, at the northern part of the island of Paros. Situated there is an important Mycenaean building complex of the late 12th century BC, its wings, corridors, and storage rooms are still visible. The storage rooms once held jars, weapons, and other items all of which were covered in ash indicating that they were destroyed by fire somewhere near 1100′s BC. Interestingly, this is one of the few sites in Greece with continuity from the Bronze, all the way to the Iron ages.

Here was one of the last refuges of the Mycenaean tribes, after their mainland cities had been sacked during the final days of the 12th century BC. Some chieftains managed a few survivors fleeing the mainland sailed to islands in the Aegean Sea. The islands they migrated to, grew strong and prosperous under the leadership of the last Mycenaean kings.

Studies at places like Koukounaries indicate that the demise of the Mycenaean civilization was a gradual process, spread over perhaps 150 years after the destruction of the great palaces. The regional palace economies that characterized the Late Bronze Age were replaced by isolated village cultures. This continued for hundreds of years, even into the Classical Age (480-323 BC), when city states (not regional governments) emerged. Not until the Hellenistic period and the regional campaigns of Alexander the Great, did cultural uniformity (which characterized the Mycenaean period) reappear in the Aegean.