The paper examines culture change on Crete, ca. 600 B.C., in an urban context. The purpose is to reassess the current methodological discourse, and the application of site-specific recovery methods and research paradigms in addressing traditional problems of polis formation and urbanization in the Greek Aegean. One aspect of urbanization in the Aegean at the end of the Early Iron Age is nucleation of population, the settlement aggregation and the restructuring of social, political and economic landscapes, giving rise to Archaic Greek cities and city-states. This paper presents a case study of an excavation of one such early emergent center, the site of Azoria in eastern Crete (700?500 B.C.). Within contexts of agropastoral production and consumption in domestic and communal spaces, the material patterns suggest public activities that actively formed civic institutions, mediating social and political interaction and forming mechanisms of community organization and integration.