“Straight from the Butcher’s Block” – A report on Corinth Excavations of 2011

In the late spring and early summer, we reported on new excavations in Corinth in the area northwest of the theater.   The latest issue of Expedition from the Penn Museum includes a preliminary report by C.K. Williams II titled “From the Field—The Corinth Excavations of 2011.”  In the document (available here as a PDF), Mr. Williams describes a late antique layer of butchered animals (mainly cattle) from the West Hall of the Roman Theater. 


Williams notes that the context postdates the use of the theater and postulates that it could possibly be connected with a religious celebration:

“It is the hall at the west end of the Roman stage building upon which the American School of Classical Studies at Athens focused  this year, largely because, when about two-thirds of the hall  was excavated in the 1920s, a good portion of a concentrated  dump of cow, sheep, and goat bones was removed without much notice.  We planned to correct that oversight in the spring of 2011  by the careful excavation and analysis of a sample taken from  the deposit, about a third of which still remained in situ…

The evidence does point, however, to the bones recovered  from the West Hall having accumulated as a result of butchering focused on supplying some sort of celebration or festival.  If the meat had been used to celebrate a Christian martyr, the church that was honoring him or her—if it was in the neighborhood—is still to be found.”

Read the rest of the report here


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