Sampling the Byzantine Landscape

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working with David Pettegrew on a short paper that considers the role of intensive pedestrian survey in documenting and creating Byzantine landscapes in the countryside of Corinth.  One of the challenges of this analysis is our scatters of Byzantine pottery tend to be rather small and sometimes amount to only four or five sherds.

The small quantity of Byzantine material present at any one place in the landscape makes it difficult to discuss the function of places in the countryside, to determine the relationship between survey assemblages and more robust samples of material from excavated settings, and to understand the extent, duration and intensity of activities in the landscape. As a result, survey projects have had to consider ways to evaluate periods that manifest in small assemblages of pottery.

A whole series of issues likely contribute to certain periods appearing mainly as small, low-density assemblages. It is almost certain that we have failed to recognize certain types of diagnostic material on the surface or even during pottery study and as a result certain types of pottery are not associated with particular periods. Certain periods also enjoyed problematic natural and cultural site formation processes. For example, sites occupied for a short time or seasonally from particular period could produce less ceramic material.  Later activities could obscure the presence of particular periods in the countryside as well.  Periods where groups settled on the

In a 2006 Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology article, David Pettegrew, Dimitri Nakassis, and I argued that survey units that produced small, but highly diverse assemblages of pottery because of with low surface visibility might actually contain higher density, very diverse assemblages lurking beneath their obscured surfaces. We suggested in these situations that it might be wise to increase our sampling intensity from the typical 2-meter wide swaths through the unit spaced at 10 m intervals to compensate for the effect of the obscured surface on the overall sample size in the unit. In other words, as densities fell because of poor visibility, we just increase our intensity.

In 2005, David Pettegrew and I concocted a series of experiments at our survey site in Cyprus to determine whether increasing the intensity of our collection strategy actually produced more robust assemblages.  In these experiments – documented in an article in the Report of the Department of Antiquity of Cyprus in 2007 – we determined that grubbing around on the ground and collecting all artifacts from a 5% sample of the units surface produced interesting results.

First, our hands-and-knees 5% samples produced far more pottery than our 20% sample (where were walked across the unit counting sherds) predicted.

Second, and more importantly, the assemblages produced by these 5% total collection areas were more diverse than those produced by our effort to sample the artifacts present in our 20% samples of the unit. On the one hand, we discovered that our smaller total collection areas did not produce significantly more chronological information. In other words, we were not seeing periods in our super intensive 5% sample that did not appear in our less intensive 20% sample.  On the other hand, our 5% hands-and-knees collection strategy did produce more diversity than our typical survey and sampling strategy. Our samples of 20% of the surface produced 11.2 chronotypes (or distinct types of pottery recognized by our ceramicist) per unit, whereas our more intensive (if smaller) sample produced 15.6 chronotypes per unit.

Our sample sizes remains extremely small, but they are nevertheless suggestive. I looked at the least diagnostic types of pottery (coarse, medium coarse, and kitchen/cooking wares) in each of our experimental units and compared the total number of chronotypes present in each of these classes with the number of chronotypes present in the larger 20% sample.  I discovered that for coarse ware, there was a 5% increase in the number of chronotypes, for medium coarse a 35% increase, and for kitchen/cooking wares a 33% increase. There was a 50% increase in the diversity of the fine ware assemblages produced by a more rigorous effort to collect pottery from the surface of the ground.

What this all suggests is that small quantities of pottery based on our typical sampling and collection strategies might represent the tip of an iceberg hidden by collection strategies that ill-suited to documenting hidden landscapes. Of course, one upshot of the need to increase the intensity of surface collection is that it makes it difficult to conduct data collection on the regional level from problematic or less visible periods. This contributes to what Blanton has called “Mediterranean Myopia” or a tendency for Mediterranean survey archaeologists to focus on smaller and smaller areas while still attempting to address regional level survey questions.

Cross-posted to the New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World

Corinth’s Byzantine Countryside

The distribution of Byzantine sites in Corinth’s immediate hinterland is poorly known. No Byzantine monuments exist in the Isthmia valley immediately to the east of the City of Corinth in contrast to the numerous Byzantine churches discovered during the early phases of excavation of the city center or the cluster of standing churches around the village of Sophiko to the south. The absence of any standing Byzantine remains might be an accident of preservation. It could also suggest that the immediate hinterland of Corinth had few nucleated settlements like monasteries and villages. It seems possible that Byzantine Corinthians lived in the city of Corinth, the village of Kenchreai, and perhaps a settlement centered on the eastern part of the Hexamilion wall near the long-abandoned Panhellenic sanctuary at Isthmia.

Over the past week or so, I’ve been working on analyzing the distribution of Byzantine pottery discovered during the work of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey. In the chronological scheme used by the survey, material from the Byzantine period was divided into two periods: Early Medieval (700-1200) and Late Medieval (1200-1500). In the map below, the red triangles are the Early Medieval artifacts and the green are Late Medieval.

Byzantine Pottery

There are four main areas in the fertile plain east of the city of Corinth that show Early and Late Medieval ceramic material. One area may be associated with a now-destroyed church dedicated to Ag. Paraskevi. In a series of fields disturbed by plowing and recent construction, there is a complex and extensive assemblage of Early and Late Medieval material as well as a significant assemblage of Late Roman material. The assemblage included relatively common glazed finewares from the Early and Middle Byzantine period as well as table wares and utility wares. Some 2 km northwest of the Ay. Paraskevi assemblage, appears another cluster of pottery perhaps associated with ecclesiastical architecture. In a 100 square meter amidst architecture fragments suggesting monumental Christian architecture appear another similar scatter of Byzantine material which featured fineware, kitchen wares, utility vessels from both the Early and Late Medieval periods. As similar small assemblage appears on the steep slopes to the northwest of the Late Roman harbor of Kenchreai. In these units, another 200 square meter area produced a small scatter of Medieval material including finewares and utility wares. Finally, a deeply ploughed field at the base of Mt. Oneion measuring about 350 square meters produced an assembalge of Early Medieval and Late Medieval fine and ultility wares as well as a few sherds from the Venentian and Ottoman periods. Like the other scatters, this assemblage shows both Early and Late Medieval pottery with both table ware and utility wares.

The remarkable thing about these four little clusters of Byzantine pottery is how different the distribution was from period of earlier and later periods.  This is the same map showing Late Roman pottery.

Late Roman

This is a textbook example of a continuous carpet of artifacts and is typical of the Late Roman period throughout Greece. (For some critical comments on this see David Pettegrew’s “The Busy Countryside of Late Roman Corinth,” Hesperia 76 (2007), 743-784 for a PDF go here).

What is also remarkable is how different the distribution is from that of later periods.  The distribution of material from the Ottoman/Venetian period (1500-1800) for example does not overlap entirely with material from the Byzantine period.


It is only in the Early Modern period (1800-1960) where later material becomes an important component of the Byzantine sites, but this seems to be associated with a general expansion of activity in the Corinthian countryside. (For a more extensive discussion of this see T. E. Gregory, “Contrasting Impressions of Land Use in Early Modern Greece: The Eastern Corinthia and Kythera,” Hesperia Supplement 40 (2007), 173-198.)

Early Modern Pottery

This very preliminary analysis of the Byzantine material from EKAS resonates with recent studies of the Byzantine countryside in the Nemea Valley immediately to the south. (For this see E. Athanassopoulos, “ Landscape Archaeology in the Medieval Countryside: Settlement and Abandonment in the Nemea Region,” IJHA 14 (2010), 255-270.) Athanassopoulos suggested that the 12th and 13th century landscape of the Nemea valley clustered on arable land or on the lower slopes of valley sides (258). Moreover, the sites tended to represent small and medium scale agricultural production (261).

It is also important to realize that my brief analysis here is preliminary. Sanders has established the basic unreliability of most existing typologies and chronologies for pottery of this period as well as difficulties identifying artifacts datable to the Medieval period in general. A the same time, it is nevertheless striking that such pronounced clusters of Byzantine material would appear in the Corinthian landscape. More importantly, these clusters appear largely independent of the continuous carpet of Late Roman finds and the clusters of post-Byzantine material published by Gregory and, earlier, analyzed by Caraher.

Cross-Posted to New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World.

Ano Vayia and Lychnari Tower

The Saronic coast of the southern Corinthia provides some of the most beautiful views of Corinthian territory.  It also provided for the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey some of its most spectacular finds.  One week spent in the area of Kalamianos near the harbor village of Korphos, for example, led to the discover of a major Mycenaean settlement—the end result being an entirely new research endeavor called the Saronic Harbors Archaeological Project.  In the area of Vayia and Lychnari Bay, Bill Caraher and his extensive team found an unknown rural tower and ‘farm’ of Classical-Hellenistic date.  He and I published these sites last year (with colleague Sarah James) in an article titled “Towers and Fortifications at Vayia in the Southeast Corinthia,” Hesperia 79.3 (2010), 385-415.  [Vayia (PDF Offprint) *Copyright © The American School of Classical Studies at Athens].  The abstract of that piece:

“Although rural towers have long been central to the discussion of the fortified landscapes of classical and Hellenistic Greece, the Corinthia has rarely figured in the conversation, despite the historical significance of exurban fortifications for the territory. the authors of this article report on the recent investigation by the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological survey of two towers and associated fortifications in the region of Vayia in the southeast Corinthia. by integrating topographic study, intensive survey, and architectural analysis, they suggest that these three sites served to guard an economically productive stretch of the Corinthian countryside and to protect—or block—major maritime and land routes into the region.”

There is plenty of material in Bill’s archived Archaeology of the Mediterranean World blog about our work in the Lychnari Bay area.  I have added to this website a series of pages in the photo gallery section:

This concludes my scanned slides of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey.  Thanks again to Cindi Tomes of Messiah College’s Faculty Services for making this possible.  At some point soon, I will upload scans of slides from other parts of the territory and the urban center, as well as scanned prints from EKAS.

A few of the highlights from the new galleries.


Lychnari Bay (left), Ano Vayia (right lobe), and Saconic Gulf from the coastal highway to Epidaurus.  Ayioii Theodoroi smoke stacks in distance.


Lychnari Bay from the site of Ano Vayia.  Oneion and the Isthmus in background.


Remains of a building of late Classical-early Hellenistic date, probably used for guarding a strategic corridor to Corinth and protecting local citizen properties.


The team discusses the crumbled remains of the tower above Lychnari Bay.


Timothy Gregory reading pottery from the Ano Vayia buildings.

Sites of the Eastern Korinthia Survey

I have uploaded more scans of slides form the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey.  These images show areas and sites documented by EKAS between 1999 and 2003.  Some of these, like the quarries, Kromna, and Perdhikaria, were known archaeological sites, and our work documented a new range of activities in the area.  Others like various Roman-Byzantine villas were completely unknown before survey.

I created pages according to sites and will post additional pages later in the week.  I should also be able to add to these collections at a later date.

Thanks again to Cindi Tomes for scanning these slides!


Gun Emplacement 1

World War II Gun Emplacement on the Ayios Dimitrios Ridge


Ridge of Perdhikaria viewed from Kromna

Plowed Field_6

View north from Perdhikaria.  The plowed fields at the bottom of the image were the site of a substantial ornate building of Late Roman and Byzantine date, along with earlier phases.  This became known around the project as the “Plowed Field” Villa.

Photos of the Eastern Korinthia Survey

It was unfortunate that I took all of my photos of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey using a camera loaded with print or slide film.  The survey was carried between 1998 and 2003, a time span corresponding with the rapid replacement of film cameras with digital cameras.  We used digital cameras every year of the EKAS survey, but since our main goal was to document quickly what we were finding—visibility, photos of features, etc…—we tended to use low resolution settings so as to store the most images.  The digital image collection is useful for study, but fair to poor for projection.  When I have really wanted to show images of EKAS to my classes, I have relied on my old collection of physical slides. 

Until now.  Bill Caraher had some slides digitized for me last year as part of his creation of the outstanding collection of images of the site of Lakka Skoutara, a 19th and 20th century village of the Southern Corinthia. 

And over the summer, Cindi Tomes of Messiah College’s Faculty Services kindly scanned hundreds of old slides relating to my archaeological work in the Corinthia and Kythera, and travels in Greece.  The images are at a sufficient resolution for PowerPoint presentations for presentations and lectures.  Thanks, Cindi!

Since there are few images of the Eastern Korinthia Survey online (Caraher’s omeka collection of Lakka Skoutara photos being the exception), I figured it would be worthwhile to create some galleries.  I have uploaded the first batch to this page of the photo gallery.  This gallery shows field walker and survey images around the Isthmus, and is compiled from the few photos I had previously scanned, along with the slides scanned recently.   I include a few photos below as examples.


EKAS 2001_lined up_3 

Field walkers surveying  a grain stubble field on the Isthmus, 2001. Slide scan courtesy of Caraher’s team at UND.

EKAS 2001_Perdhikaria

Field walkers document the artifacts of a Roman-Byzantine villa below the Perdhikaria Ridge (2001). Slide scan by C. Tomes.


EKAS 1999_Team

One of the first field teams from EKAS, 1999. 

Maps of the Corinthia

Maps of the Corinthia are surprisingly rare via the internet, let alone maps of the ancient Corinthia. A google image search on “Korinthia” or “Corinthia” turns up two dozen very coarse road maps of the northeastern Peloponnese mainly produced or posted by tourist agencies.

I have added a new section of this website, Maps of the Corinthia, where I have posted some higher resolution maps of the Isthmus and Corinthia, the course of the diolkos, the Eastern Korinthia Survey, and a gazetteer of archaeological sites.  This area will grow as I continue the digital work and if you would like to donate anything to the cause, I’d be glad to post it there.  You are free to use these maps for the purposes of education and scholarly presentation, but not publication except by request.

I have produced the maps posted on that page, but have made use of some of the GIS data entered as part of the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey (1998-2002).  Richard Rothaus, especially, and his Archaeological Computing Laboratory at St. Cloud State University, conducted an enormous amount of work in the late 1990s in digitizing the Eastern Corinthia from 1:5,000 maps.  They did it all manually via digitizing tablets (tracing the physical map itself), not via the heads-up digitizing (tracing an image on the computer screen) we use today.

The Archaeological Computing Laboratory completed a ginormous labor of GIS: faults, streams, boundaries, settlements, topo lines, survey units, etc.. The elevation data alone is impressive: some 8,426 separate contour lines, and these are 2-meter contour lines, each requiring hundreds of clicks of the mouse.

To show you one example, the following image displays the Eastern Corinthia with a dark mass of lines, the aggregate of the 2 meter contours.  The red line follows one reconstruction (Salmon 1984) of the boundary of the classical Corinthia.

If we zoom in to the mountainous SE Corinthia, you can get a sense of the detail:

And the detail….

8,426 lines. Since my main project is the Isthmus, consider the problem I encounter with the following image, which shows the archaeological sites of the Corinthia against its high resolution topographic background.

Note where those topo lines stop.  I am currently working on adding at least the topo data (20 m contours) from the other side of the Isthmus.  But in the interest of time, I’ll be working from maps of larger scale, 1 to 50:000 rather than the 1:5000s.

Watch for updates and maps as I make progress on this.

Three new papers on the Roman Corinthia and Isthmus

A new book on Hellenistic to Roman Corinth called Corinth in Contrast: Studies in Inequality is now in the works.  The volume is edited by Friesen, James, and Schowalter and is based on the conference in Austin in early October which brought together archaeologists, historians, and New Testament scholars to discuss the topic of inequality and contrast in the ancient city.  Two earlier posts about the conference can be found  here and here.

If you’re interested in the Roman Corinthia or Isthmus, three working papers have been posted online.  These are drafts that will undoubtedly change as the papers are reviewed and edited, but they provide a sense of how the Isthmus fits well within a discussion of inequality and contrast.  Agriculture and land use, commerce and transit, and imperial monuments.  That about sums up the common conceptions of the isthmus in antiquity.

Guy Sander’s piece, “Landlords and Tenants: Sharecroppers and Subsistence Farming in Corinthian Historical Context,”  examines documentary evidence for peasant farming, land use, sharecropping, and land and taxes in the Peloponnese in recent centuries (16th-19th) and makes comparisons to the growing Roman colony of the first century.

Bill Caraher’s chapter, “The Ambivalent Landscape of Christian Corinth: The Archaeology of Place, Theology, and Politics in a Late Antique City,” examines the theme of resistance to imperial action evident in the landscape of the Corinthia in the 6th century AD, and discusses the early Christian basilicas of territory, settlement patterns (from the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey), the Hexamilion fortification wall, and Corinthian theology.

My piece, “The Diolkos and the Emporium: How a Land Bridge Framed the Commercial Economy of Roman Corinth,” examines ancient conceptions for how the Isthmus shaped the economy of the city.  I argue that the diolkos played almost no role in ancient conception while the emporium in the harbors of Kenchreai and Lechaion were central to the ancient image of the economy of the city.  The piece can be downloaded here, and I’ve embedded it in the document below.

The Corinthia Rocks! in Hesperia 79.3

“The Corinthia Rocks!”  The homepage of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens website gave some attention this week to Lychnari Tower in the southeast Corinth, one of the Classical-Hellenistic sites Bill Caraher and I investigated in 2008.  One of the scrolling images on the site shows Bill Caraher standing on Lychnari Tower (photo by K. Pettegrew).  Yes, it doesn’t look like much but a pile of rocks now, but believe it or not, that was once a tower that stood as high as 15 m (50 feet) above the ground.

Corinthia Rocks

The editors of the journal Hesperia chose the image for the website because the most recent issue (79.3) includes an article by Bill, myself, and Sarah James called “Towers and Fortifications at Vayia in the Southeast Corinthia.”  The article was the culmination of fieldwork conducted by the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey in 2001, 2003, and 2008.  The three sites described in that article are fascinating, but I have said before that creating the stone-by-stone drawing for the Ano Vayia building was some of the most boring archaeological work I’ve ever done!  Bill Caraher blogged about our 2008 fieldwork in a series of posts:

The Corinthian Countryside: Classical Vayia

New Research on the Corinthian Countryside: Vayia Microregion
The Corinthian Countryside: The Site of Ano Vayia
The Corinthian Countryside: Distributional Data from the Site of Ano Vayia
The Corinthian Countryside: The Lychnari Tower
The Corinthian Countryside: The Passes of the Eastern Corinthia

Okay, so here’s an abstract of our article:

“Although rural towers have long been central to the discussion of the fortified landscapes of Classical and Hellenistic Greece, the Corinthia has rarely figured in the conversation, despite the historical significance of exurban fortifications for the territory. The authors of this article report on the recent investigation by the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey of two towers and associated fortifications in the region of Vayia in the southeast Corinthia. By integrating topographic study, intensive survey, and architectural analysis, they suggest that these three sites served to guard an economically productive stretch of the Corinthian countryside and to protect—or block—major maritime and land routes into the region.”

The full article is available here* as a PDF offprint, and is posted in the EKAS Publications section of this website.  If you don’t have time to read the text, there are some nice images of the rural Corinthia in the piece.

*[Copyright © The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, originally published in Hesperia 79 (2010), pp. 385–415. This offprint is supplied for personal, non-commercial use only. The definitive electronic version of the article can be found here.]

St. Paul on the Isthmus

Last week I had the chance to visit Grand Forks, North Dakota, and give a talk on the subject of “Setting the Stage for St. Paul’s Corinth: How an Isthmus Determined the Character of a Roman City.”  It was great to visit Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota especially as the weather was so pleasant.  Thanks to Bill Caraher, the Department of History, and the 2010 Cyprus Research Fund for sponsoring my visit.  The crowd that came out asked a round of great questions about the environment, religion in Corinth, and the nature of ancient evidence.  The full talk was recorded as a podcast that is available here.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the talk:

Why was Corinth so commonly associated in antiquity with travel and trade?  How should we understand that widely-circulating proverb “it is not for every man to sail to Corinth”?  In the talk, I discussed how ancient writers pinned Corinth’s history, power, character, uniqueness on its proximity to an isthmus: in ancient conception, the land bridge determined the character of the city.  I then asked the question of how exactly Greek and Roman writers understood the land bridge influencing the city’s development and character.  The ancients did not conceive of the isthmus as a commercial thoroughfare for ships and cargoes, or think that portaging via a diolkos road made the city wealthy, but they did consistently represent it as a marketplace for the exchange of goods.  The final part of the talk examined whether archaeological evidence supported the ancient view of the Corinthia as a region with greater commercial connectivity than other places. Examining the evidence from the Eastern Korinthia Survey, I suggested that the region was in fact more oriented to commerce over the broad Roman era than many other territories.  My conclusions pretty much as I gave them in Grand Forks:

First, when thinking about a city like Corinth, and St. Paul’s community there, it is important to not dwell in the urban center alone.  If territory was always important for ancient cities, it was especially significant for Corinth.  Ancient authors consistently discuss Corinth in terms of the concentrated economic exchanges across the landscape and especially in the ports and the biannual fair at Isthmia.  Kenchreai, Lechaion, and Isthmia were important bustling places in the landscape and integral to the regional economy.  It is surely not mere coincidence that we hear of Kenchreai developing its own separate church community with a famous deaconess named Phoebe.

Second,  archaeology has demonstrated how important is  a regional framework for understanding Roman Corinth’s economy.  The urban center, the sanctuary at Isthmia, the lands, the scattered villas and farms across the Isthmus created an integrated economy of production and exchange that constantly interlinked the city center, suburbs, and seascape together.  Archaeological investigations in town and country have shown that the Corinthia was more connected to markets than many other regions of the eastern Mediterranean.  This ‘connectivity’ and orientation to markets  provides the backdrop to understanding both the literary anecdotes about Corinth and Paul’s community in crisis.

Third, the Corinthia was a place to which people voyaged, not simply a region that people passed through.  People visited the Isthmus for a variety of reasons, not least of which was to conduct trade and business.  This may well have been a motivation for St. Paul himself who knew that here on the Isthmus he would meet bustling crowds associated with the market places, the tourist sites, and the Isthmian games.

More Corinth in Contrast

On Monday I posted a general overview of the conference Corinth in Contrast and today I want to comment on a few of the specific papers that focused on material culture.  Defining which papers fit into the category of material culture is not straightforward.  Most of the papers, including those by New Testament scholars, made some use of archaeology, but not all the archaeologists (e.g., Sanders and myself) focused on archaeological evidence per se.  Moreover, some presenters (Ben Millis, Dan Schowalter, and Ron Stroud) focused on inscriptions that belong to overlapping evidence categories of text and material culture.  And even the explicitly archaeological papers did not focus on the normal stratigraphic grit of archaeological research.  A few highlights:

For the urban center, Sarah James gave an important paper (“The Last Corinthians? Society and Settlement from 146 BCE to the Roman Colony”) synthesizing the evidence for continuing settlement and society in the so-called interim period between the city’s destruction in 146 BC and refoundation as a Roman colony in 44 BC.  James discussed an enormous amount of evidence (adding up to half a metric ton of pottery!) suggesting that activities continued in the urban center in the late 2nd to early 1st centuries BC.  She presented a number of ceramic deposits showing evidence for imports and trade and production of ceramic crafts that indicates continuity with preexisting populations.  This paper, which draws on conclusions reached in her dissertation, will have significant ramifications for understanding the interim period in Corinth.  Start discontinuity, the blank slate, and the squatters are all going to have to go away.

Ben Millis was not physically present at the conference but he did make several appearances via Skype and in this capacity presented a paper on “The Local Magistrates and Elite of Roman Corinth.”  The paper complemented an earlier paper that he gave in 2007, recently published in Corinth in Context, by discussing the role of freedmen in promoting their commercial interests in the newfound colony.  In his talk, Millis discussed the origins and careers of Roman Corinth’s first elites whose names appear in inscriptions in the city.  Three distinct elite groups appear frequently: 1) Greek provincial elite, which formed the smallest elite group; 2) Romans, who were also a numerically small group but formed a more significant core of Corinthian elites; and 3) freedmen, who made up the largest group of the colony’s ruling class.  Millis suggested that the latter group clearly had the most potential for upward mobility, but that personal connections were important in achieving this mobility.  Freedmen who became part of the new local elite formed a very closed system that was nearly impossible to break into.  There were, in other words, social and economic impediments and requirements to office holding in the new colony.

Sarah Lepinski discussed the evidence from wall painting in the Roman city and considered the question of whether painting practices reflected Greek or Roman themes, styles, and tastes.  Her presentation highlighted the practices, tastes, and decorative programs that point strongly to western connections, especially during most of the first century after Christ.  However, her presentation also highlighted the complexities of such connections for in the later 1st century a break with western practices led to more localized decorative programs.

Bill Caraher gave a paper on the final day on the subject of the “The Ambivalent Landscape of Christian Corinth: The Archaeology of Place, Theology, and Politics in a Late Antique City.”  The paper provided a very useful overview of the “building boom” of the fifth and sixth centuries AD in the Corinthia that included monumental church architecture (e.g., Lechaion basilica), villa culture in the territory, and urban and trans-isthmus fortification walls.  Bill suggested that this building activity created a medium for various groups of the population to communicate theological messages and local expression.  His discussion of local “resistance” provided some interesting and lively audience feedback.

Ronald Stroud presented an interesting paper called the “Varieties of Inequality in Corinthian Magic and Ritual,” which examined the evidence for “black magic” at Corinth around 50 AD, especially the inscribed lead curse tablets found at the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore on the lower slopes of Acrocorinth.  Before official cult was reestablished in a Roman manner at the sanctuary, women were practicing nocturnal rites associated with a space connected to Kore, goddess of underworld.  Such practices blend the distinction between religion and magic.  This paper will be very interesting for those interested in the kinds of cults and religious practices that formed a backdrop to St. Paul’s mission in the city.

All of these papers will appear in expanded form (6,000-8,000 words) in a volume that should be published relatively quickly.