This is not really how I had imagined I would return to Corinthian matters–bunkered down in my home near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in the midst of a global pandemic, working on this website while what’s left of Hurricane Zeta dumps rain on central PA.
Only eight months ago, I was in the process of gearing up for (what was surely going to be) a memorable three-week research and teaching jaunt to the real Corinthia. I was going to bring along a group of ten bright students from Messiah University for a series of research ventures from our base in ancient Corinth between mid-May and early June. Plans were in place to join up with colleagues and their students from Michigan State University, Franklin & Marshall College, and Harrisburg University of Science & Technology to tackle a number of interesting archaeological processes and problems, ranging from collecting high-resolution drone photography of the Isthmus to a quest to locate the vanished American-founded colony of Washingtonia to digitization work at the Roman Bath at Isthmia.
The very idea of that trip — and its vast potential set of cultural and archaeological experiences — was gunned down in the wave of cancellations that shocked our world in March and April. Like so many others looking forward to summer travel for archaeology and study in Greece, plans were overturned, students devastated. On the plus side, we had our health and safety, which was certainly not a guarantee.
I still managed to find my way to the Corinthia again this fall through a well-timed leave from my university in the 2020-2021 year. The sabbatical provides the opportunity to undertake some research on Corinthian scholarship and also to breathe a little life into this languishing website after a long hiatus.
I’m working now on the long-delayed study and publication of the datasets and results of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey. We finished that project nearly two decades ago when I was but still a youth, long enough ago that one can rightly call it a “legacy project.” Some people, I think, imagine EKAS as an unpublished project but in fact EKAS staff have generated a slew of publications over the last twenty years. However, there has been no comprehensive and systematic presentation of the data or the results of survey, despite frequent conversations among the project’s staff about its potential value. So with the project directors’ blessing, my goal this year is to publish the datasets with collaborators, and to write an efficient little born-digital book about the project, its methods, datasets, and results. If things go well (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise), we have our eyes set on an edited collection of essays interpreting the results of the survey. But for now, it’s enough to say that Operation Publish EKAS is under way. You can expect some regular updates about the project via the Corinthiaka page.
The work on EKAS this year gives me a new opportunity to reset this website, update its template, and generate some new content. Honestly I grew tired of the template and format of the old website. Corinthian Matters 1.0 centered too much on blogging new scholarship and news and demanded keeping up with the constant flow of information–something that became too difficult as my teaching and research interests moved beyond the Corinthia and as I assumed more administrative roles at my university (like chairing my department, coordinating digital humanities activities, and directing a local public humanities project) — let alone raising a family with small children!
Since I’ll be working on Corinthiaka anyway this year, I’m attempting something of a modest overhaul of the website to convert this overgrown blog site into a dynamic website with stable content–something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. To make things happen, I purchased a new theme, revised the domain name, and reorganized and simplified pages. I’ve begun to update content and am still tinkering with this theme. I’m impressed with how much better WordPress tools are these days than they were a decade ago. Makes the job much easier.
So expect a little more activity here at Corinthian Matters than we’ve had over the last two years. I’ll probably not go back to a rampant posting schedule but I hope to add enough content that you’ll see some improvement in the utility of the site for delivering resources related to Corinthian studies.