Report on the 1998 Study Season

Elizabeth R. Gebhard, Director

The 1998 study season extended from June 1 to October 1. The staff included Elizabeth Gebhard, Frederick Hemans, John Hayes, David Reese, Martha Risser, Mary Sturgeon, Kees Neeft, and six student assistants. Tasks were divided between study and drawing of objects for the final publications and mapping the Southeast Valley where the ancient hippodrome may have been located. Geophysical work on the area was begun in 1997 in collaboration with Apostolis Sarris from the Foundation of Research and Technology in Rethymnon, Crete. Reorganization of the Isthmia Museum storage facilities provided space for study and cleaning of the glass panels from Kenchreai. Preparations were made for the Eastern Korinthia Survey planned for June 1999.


1. David Reese completed analysis of the animal bones from the sacrificial deposits and the Great Circular Pit. He and Elizabeth Gebhard prepared an article comparing the bones known to have come from sacrificial debris near the Long Altar of Poseidon (over 16.80 kilograms) and from the pits dedicated to Melikertes-Palaimon (55.50 kilograms) with those from the pit that served as a water reservoir for the Archaic sanctuary (Figure 1).

The latter bone assemblage appears to be refuse from dining. Analysis of body parts showed that the forequarters of sheep and cattle sacrificed to Poseidon were removed before the remainder of the skeleton was burned. On the basis of the dining remains, it appears that the forequarters were a preferred portion for the sacrificial feast.

2. Mary Sturgeon worked with Veronica Remaly from Wichita State University on restored drawings of two Roman statues from the temenos of the Antonine Temple of Palaimon (south precinct of the Palaimonion, Phase V; Fig. 1). They may portray Marcus Aurelius and a priest in sacrificial pose.

3. Martha Risser continued preparation of the Late Archaic and Classical ceramics for final publication. She concentrated on the context pottery and quantitative studies.

4. Jessica Nager from the University of Chicago updated, edited and checked the catalogue of terracotta figurines that had been compiled by David Mitten.

5. Kees Neeft and Anneke Aarts, from the University of Amsterdam, prepared drawings for the volumes on the Archaic pottery and on the Rachi Settlement.

Topographic Studies and Geophysical Remote Sensing, 1997, 1998

During the 1997 and 1998 study seasons we tested the hypothesis that the hippodrome might have been located southwest of the Later Stadium (Fig. 2). The western end of the area is enclosed by a curvilinear wall, and its southern side is defined by a long wall that may have been part of a spectator embankment. The length of the space appears adequate (over 350 meters) to accommodate a hippodrome. In 1997 we collected conductivity data to test the subsurface configuration of the valley. Preliminary analysis suggests the presence of a horizontal “track” some meters below the surface.

In 1998, Matthew Haysom from the University of Edinburgh, and Helena Arnold and Adriana Hemans from Wichita State University surveyed the area to complete a new map. Their work indicates that the surrounding hills were altered to create spectator embankments of uniform slope.

The Marble Sima from the Classical Temple of Poseidon

As part of the documentation of architectural remains from the Classical Temple of Poseidon, a study is being made of the marble sima that underwent a series of repairs during the life of the building. Helena Arnold, Adriana Hemans, Mark Keck, and Veronica Remaly from Wichita State drew more than 40 fragments from the sima palmettes on which several different phases can be distinuished.

Restored water-color drawings were made of the terracotta eaves tiles and palmette antefixes from two small-scale buildings dated to the Late Archaic and Classical periods.

Reorganization of the Storage Areas

During the coming year, a conservation area for treatment and study of the Kenchreai glass panels will be made in a section of the Isthmia storeroom. To accommodate the new construction, shelves were moved and materials reorganized. We also added new shelves that will be used to store objects collected in during the Eastern Korinthia Survey.


Stella Bouzakis and Nikos Didaskalos finished conservation of the West Waterworks and fragments of a marble arch exvcavated by Broneer in the Palaimonion. It was found that the pieces belong to two separate but identical arches. Work on objects in the museum, especially the arms and armor, continues.

Eastern Korinthia Survey Project

During the past year the University of Chicago and Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia have joined in organizing a collaborative regional study of the Eastern Korinthia. Hemans will serve with Timothy Gregory as co-director.

Extensive planning for the survey was conducted throughout July. Collection and processing procedures were established, materials for grant proposals were prepared. The large multidisciplinary project is, in several respects, an extension of the current projects at Isthmia sponsored by the Ohio State University and the University of Chicago. The project aims to define the relationship between the Isthmian sanctuary and its surrounding region, document the use of natural resources in the area, and describe the interaction between humans and the landscape over a period of more than 5,000 years.
Elizabeth R. Gebhard, Director

Frederick P. Hemans, Asst. Director