Corinthiaka at the AIA / APA 2012

The Archaeological Institute of America and the American Philological Association have posted preliminary programs for their annual meetings in Philadelphia, January 5-8, 2012.  As in last year’s program, Corinthiaka are covered through AIA / APA papers and posters.  The following list was generated from paper titles alone and will grow as the abstracts go live. 


January 6: Morning

  • “The Archaic Temple at Isthmia Reconsidered” – Cornelis J. (Neil) Baljon, AIA Member at Large (AIA Session 1D: Greek Architecture)
  • “The Hellenistic Theater at Corinth: New Evidence” – David Scahill, American School of Classical Studies at Athens (AIA Session 1D: Greek Architecture)
  • “The Southeast Building at Corinth: Recent Investigations” – Paul D. Scotton, Califorinia State University, Long Beach (AIA Session 1D: Greek Architecture)
  • “The Lord and the Ring: A New Interpretation of a Corinthian Finger Ring with an Inscribed Cruciform Invocative Monogram” – Jeremy Ott, New York University Institute of Fine Arts (AIA Session 1E: Religion in Late Antiquity)
  • “Survey and Visualization of Mycenaean Buildings at Kalamianos” – Philip Sapirstein, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (AIA Session 1G: Recent Work in Aegean Prehistory)
  • “Ta graphenta pro rostris lecta: Bilingual (In)scribing at Roman Corinth” – Brad Bitner, Macquarie University, (APA Section 7: Bilingual Inscriptions)

January 6: Afternoon

  • “Polyphemus and Galateia at Ancient Corinth” – Aileen Ajootian, University of Mississippi (AIA 2A: Roman Sculpture)
  • “Tracking an Archaic Greek Warrior in the Near East: A Corinthian Helmet from Haifa Bay, Israel” – John R. Hale, University of Louisville Jacob Sharvit, Israel Antiquities Authority (AIA 2B: Greek Arts)
  • “Learning from Their Mistakes: Try-Pieces, Wasters and Other Evidence for Ceramic Production from the Potters’ Quarter at Corinth” – Bice Peruzzi, University of Cincinnati, and Amanda S. Reiterman, University of Pennsylvania (AIA Poster Session)

January 7: Morning

  • “Mycenaean Mortuary Practices in Ancient Nemea,” Mary K. Dabney, Bryn Mawr College, Eva Pappi, 4th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Greece, Panayiotis Karkanas, Ephorate of Speleology and Palaeoanthropology, Greece, Angus Smith, Brock University, Sevi Triantaphyllou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and James C. Wright, Bryn Mawr College (AIA Session 4E: Staging Death)
  • “Excavations at Nemea: The 2011 Season” – Kim Shelton, University of California, Berkeley (AIA Session 4H: Current Research at Nemea)
  • “The Archaic Heroaon and Nemean Landscapes” – Nathan Arrington, Princeton University (AIA Session 4H: Current Research at Nemea)
  • “Local Ceramics from the Xenon and Houses at Nemea in the Late Fourth – Early Third centuries B.C.: Preliminary Results” – Heather Graybehl, University of Sheffield (AIA Session 4H: Current Research at Nemea)
  • “A Bioarchaeological Approach to the Early Christian and Byzantine Burials from the Sanctuary of Nemean Zeus” – Jared S. Beatrice, Michigan State University, and Jon M. Frey, Michigan State University (AIA Session 4H: Current Research at Nemea)
  • “The Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea: The Medieval Deposits (12th-13th centuries A.D.)” –  Effie Athanassopoulos, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (AIA Session 4H: Current Research at Nemea)
  • “Nemean Neighbors: A Survey Perspective from the Nemea Valley” Christian Cloke, – University of Cinncinnati (AIA Session 4H: Current Research at Nemea)

January 7: Afternoon

  • “Visualizing Archaeology: Panoramic Photography and the Greek Architecture Project at Corinth” – Christopher J. Stackowicz, Bethel College (AIA Session 5E: New Digital and Visual Approaches to Archaeology)
  • “Producing the Peasant in the Corinthian Countryside” – David Pettegrew, Messiah College, and William Caraher, University of North Dakota (APA Session 43: Finding Peasants in Mediterranean Landscapes)

Dissertating Corinth

The American School of Classical Studies’ website has a nice piece on Angela Ziskowski’s recently defended dissertation The Construction of Corinthian Identity in the Early Iron Age and Archaic Period. As Angela describes her work there:

My work on this topic focused on whether or not archaeological remains and literary testimonia from the city and region of Corinth could provide evidence for the construction of civic and cultural identity.  My study considered the topography and resources of the region, production practices, ceramic and epigraphic remains, iconography, as well as cultic institutions to allow the question of identity construction to be considered from many angles.  Through this synthetic approach, I tried to offer a fuller, more comprehensive understanding of how the early city of Corinth created its own civic identity and successfully differentiated itself from neighboring regions.

Angela joins a number of recently completed PhD dissertations in different fields (Classics, Classical Archaeology, and History) that have brought together archaeological, textual, epigraphical, and environmental evidence to speak to broad cultural issues.

The ASCSA website lists five other dissertations on Corinth completed in the last two years.  I was curious about the dissertations on the Corinthia (broadly defined) over the last decade and ran a search in Worldcat on doctoral dissertations with keywords Corinth*, Kenchreai, Nemea, Isthm*, and Lechaion. The search generated 454 hits!  Some of these hits are redundant probably because the dissertations are owned by several universities that have classified them differently.  A few relate to medical studies (isthm* is responsible here) and the Battles of Corinth (the American civil war, not that of 146 BC).  But the great majority of those dissertations–say, 75% or more–center on some aspect of 1 and 2 Corinthians.  I’ve said it before: it must be tiring for New Testament scholars to keep up with the scholarship.

So, as I often do, I compiled a list of archaeology and history dissertations completed since 2000.  No doubt incomplete and I’m sure I have left off some (your!) important study. But the list gives you a sense of some of the trends in the field.  Of the 21 dissertations in process, defended, or completed, some patterns:

1. Archaic-Hellenistic: Studies of the  Corinthia / NE Peloponnese of the period of the polis dominate but these studies cover the full range from the Early Iron Age to Hellenistic.

2. Late Antiquity: some 7 dissertations focus on the late Roman Corinthia or deal with it as part of the study of the Roman Corinthia, although that number could in part reflect my own knowledge of the dissertations.  Only 3 studies focus on the Earlier Roman period.  Most “Roman” studies go into Late Antiquity.

3. Materials: Ceramic studies are most common (n=4) but in general, we find variety: wall paintings, coinage, architecture, fountains, walls, baths

4. Landscape: countryside, territory, and cultural landscapes are the focal points of several studies and frame / complement many of the other studies.  Corinth in broader context.

5. Archaeology and history: more archaeological discussions here than historical but many of the studies consider the textual evidence, and most of the archaeological studies frame their studies within broader contexts (social, economic, cultural): “a contextual study,” “the culture of water,” “mortuary practices”, “language of reuse”, “production and distribution”

The Corinthia at the AIA 2011

A great weekend in San Antonio at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, which included some good (and bad) Tex-Mex fare, a trip to the Alamo (which triggered some deep nostalgia for Texas history and 7th grade Texas history classes), the annual Isthmia reunion dinner, and numerous strolls with Kate and baby along the Riverwalk which was a pile of mud because it was being drained for its annual cleaning.

I wanted to follow up an an earlier post about the Corinthia related talks at the session.  The organizing committee unfortunately scheduled all the Corinthia related talks at the same time (Friday morning) which meant that I missed most of them while attending my own session on post-antique travelers to Greece.  But from speaking with others who attended and reading the abstract guide on my flight home, here’s a little summary of how the Corinthia appeared at this year’s meeting.

Spatially, the presentations covered the Corinthia.  While most (8) of the 12 talks centered on the urban excavations at Corinth, there were also papers on the sites of Nemea and Isthmia, the Isthmus in general, and the area near Korphos.  The papers covered the period from Late Bronze Age to the modern era: Prehistoric (2 papers), Archaic-Classical (2), Classical-Hellenistic (2), Early Roman (5), Byzantine  (2).

A brief summary of papers:

“Niketas Ooryphas Drags his Fleet: Portaging the Corinthian Isthmus in 872 A.D.” (David K. Pettegrew, Messiah College).  Discussed the case of the Byzantine admiral Niketas Ooryphas who allegedly dragged his ships over the isthmus in the late 9th century.  I’ll be posting this paper in a series of blogs this week along with the remaining translations of these texts.

“Medieval Pilgrimage to Corinth and Southern Greece” (Amelia R. Brown, University of Queensland).  An excellent overview of Christian pilgrimage to Corinth and the Peloponnese from the 4th to 15th century.  Amelia was not able to make the conference but she used Lectopia to record her voice to her presentation and it worked splendidly.  Included discussions of a number of traveler accounts to Corinth by guys like Saewulf (early 12th century), King Sigurd of Norway (12th century).  The paper also included a  discussion of some of the material remains related to post-antique Christian pilgrimage to Corinth, including the medieval church on the speaker’s platform in the forum and the church of Quadratus the martyr.

“Showing Off for the Neighbors: Wealth and Display in Archaic Corinth” (Angela Ziskowski, Bryn Mawr College).  Taking as departure Elizabeth Pemberton’s 1996 article “Wealthy Corinth: The Archaeological Evidence for Cult Investment at Greek Corinth,” Ziskowski’s talk offered a survey of the religious offerings, dedications, and monuments in the urban center, the territory, and the broader Greek world.  The question that framed her talk was whether the Corinthians in the Archaic era actually invested resources in the urban center.

“The Archaic Temple in Roman Corinth: Civic Identity in the Capital of Achaia” (Ann Morgan, University of Texas at Austin).  The paper examined the incorporation of the old Greek  Archaic Temple of Apollo into the civic landscape of the 1st century Roman colony.  Morgan considered the Roman modifications of the temple as well as the new prominent Temple E, patterns she connects to recent scholarship highlighting the “blended” or “dual identity” (Greek and Roman) of the early colonists.

“Pre-Roman Remains at the East End of the Forum of Corinth: Recent Findings” (Paul Scotton, California State University Long Beach).  A report on the pre-Roman remains at the east end of the forum around the Julian basilica and the Southeast Building, including a house or workshop of Archaic-Classical date, and an east-west structure of unknown function that determined the layout of the Southeast building.

“Urbanization and Roman Residential Architecture Southeast of the Forum at Corinth” (James Herbst, ASCSA Corinth Excavations).  Herbst reported on some marble ionic capitals of 1st century AD date recovered in the destruction debris of a 3rd century house excavated at the Panayia Field.  Herbst associates these capitals with a poorly-preserved residential phase in the area dating to the later 1st century.

“Further Notes on the South Stoa at Corinth: The Roman Interior Colonnade and the Monumental Entrance to the South Basilica” (David Scahill, University of Bath) discussed the archaeological evidence and phasing for a monumental entrance to the South Basilica, with particular attention to the roofing of the stoa.

“The Captives Facade at Ancient Corinth” (Aileen Ajootian, University of Mississippi), examines the famous 2nd century AD “Captives Facade” in Corinth, with its colossal statues of captives at the northeast corner of the forum.  On the basis of newly discovered fragments from the status (discovered in the museum itself!), Ajootian argued that the facade can be associated with the Emperor Lucius Verus’ victory over the Parthians in 165 AD.  Verus had visited Corinth in 162.

“Kraters and Drinking Practices in Hellenistic Corinth” (Sarah James, University of Texas at Austin).  James examined the question of whether the communal symposium continued in Corinth in the Hellenistic period based on an examination of drinking vessels (kraters).  James examined not only the continuing popularity of the krater in Hellenistic Corinth but also changing contexts (public vs. private).  The decline of kraters in public contexts may relate to shift to metal vessels in Greece more broadly.

“Old Excavations and New Interpretations: Recent Investigations in the Sanctuary of Poseidon on the Isthmus of Corinth” (Jon Frey, Michigan State University, and Timothy Gregory, Ohio State University).  A first report on the investigations of Frey and Gregory who, in recent years, have been examining old records for 4-decades old excavations at Isthmia and resolving architectural relationships between the Roman Bath, the Hexamilion and the Fortress, and earlier buildings.  In their talk, Frey demonstrated that later phases of the trans-isthmus wall (5th century AD) actually preserved (not destroyed) the architectural plans on earlier Roman buildings at the site, including a very long colonnade that belonged to a “stoa-like building,” and a room that has been tentatively interpreted as a latrine(!).  This new interpretation promises to fill in the gap for the earlier periods at Isthmia.

“New Excavations at Nemea: The 2010 Season” (Kim S. Shelton, University of California, Berkeley), presented a preliminary report on the first season of new investigations at the Sanctuary of Zeus.  The first season was directed to examining the prehistoric and early historic use of the site especially related to the question of how this site developed as a panhellenic sanctuary.

“Untangling Mycenaean Terracing: Landscape Modification and Agricultural Production at Korphos-Kalamianos” (Lynne A. Kvapil, University of Cincinnati), presented on a series of agricultural terraces documented by the Saronic Harbors Archaeological Project in the southeast Corinthia near Korphos.  By examining the relationship of terrace walls and forms of construction, Kvapil linked the terracing to the settlement’s agricultural activities in the Late Bronze Age.