The first residents of the islands are said to be the Phrygians, the Leleges, the Karres and the Phoenicians who settled down in coastal areas or moved inland in order to protect themselves from raids.
The Neolithic Era (5000-3000 BC) and the early Bronze Age, also known as Protocycladic Era (3000-2300 BC) remain without having given any major archaeological finding in Tinos, in contrast to the other islands of Cyclades. Few findings in the southern cape of the island, on Vrekastro hill signify that it was possibly inhabited during the early Bronze Age or mid-Cycladic ear (2300 – 1600 BC) when the settlement is fortified better with a fortress wall, parts of which are recognizable beneath more recent stone walls.
The Post-Hellenic Period I and II, the first Mycenaean Era (1600/1550-1400 BC) remains, until now, also without any findings in Tinos. The Mycenaean period is represented by a small domed semi-demolished tomb which was discovered in 1979 in an area north of Pyrgos, close to St. Thekla and the monastery of Lady Kseni.
During the Dark Ages (1100-900 BC) when piracy is at its peak, movement of settlements from coastal areas towards the mainland is noted in the Aegean islands, in areas with natural barricades with a clear line of sight of the sea. In Tinos such a fortified settlement is developed in the south west roots of Exombourgou, where we recognize the findings of a huge wall and in Kardiani in a close and safe position, close to the church of St. Nicholas where the ruins of lodgings and a graveyard have been recognized. The end of the Dark Ages seems to find Tinos at the peak of its development in Evoia.
During the Geometric Period (9th and 8th centuries BC) the influence of Evoia adequately competes with that of Attica in Tinos with a view to dominating it and controlling the Shrine of Dilos. During the 8th century BC in south Tinos the administrative centre is organized in Exombourgou where the findings offer characteristic evidence of a very well organized settlement with cohesive social structure. This settlement, during the 7th century BC is now the big centre which functions as the capital of the island. In 664 BC after the dispersion of the confederation of the Eretrians from the Cyclades the Athenians are now in control of the Shrine of Apollo in Dilos thus increasing their influence on Tinos.
In the later Archaic Times (6th century BC) close relationships with the Athenians are developed. Consequently, there was an increase of activities related to the sea and the development of settlements around Poles Hill (area of the temple of the Virgin Mary). The later union of these settlements led to the creation of Asti (City) for Tinos is reinforced by the construction of a water supply reservoir by Peisistratos (549-542 BC).
During the Early Classic period (5th century BC), the time during the beginning of the Persian Wars in 490 BC and 480 BC, Tinos is conquered by the Persians. In 477 BC an alliance is signed with the Athenians and gives form to a new local balance.
The Later Classic Period (4th Century BC) was an extremely difficult period for Tinos. The administrative centre of the island is transferred from inland, in other words, Exombourgou, to the coastal zone around the two hills of Megalohari. The core is created around the hill Poles, the settlement develops into a large urban centre, Asti (City) is fortified with a powerful wall which remains to this day. The centre of Asti with its market, theatre and possibly with the shrine of Dionysos is organized around the Temple of the Virgin Mary. Despite difficulties during this period, the port of Tinos is used an in-between stop for ships headed for Dilos. In the present area of Kionia, the huge shrine of Neptune and Amfitrity is developed, a fact which is certified by the excavations done in the area. From 338 BC after the defeat of the Athenians, the dominance of the Macedonian generals begins.
During the Hellenistic Period, the dominance of the Macedonians is succeeded by the dominance of the Ptolemians until 260 BC when Tinos is once again placed under the rule of the Macedonian king Antigonos, until 244 BC when Ptolemy the 3rd of Egypt becomes master of the Cyclades. A difficult period follows from 220 BC to 200 BC. Then the Rodians with their allies, Attalos of Pergamos and the Romans, conquer many islands of the Cyclades and Tinos, giving them, however, their autonomy. Tinos, now, becomes the headquarters of a confederation whose representatives meet during the celebrations of Neptune and Dionysos.