Report on the 2001 Study Season

Attention this year, from January until the end of August, focused on conservation of objects and the site and on preparations for the final publications.

I. Site conservation

Under the supervision of Fritz Hemans and Aristomenes Arberores, foreman of the Corinth Excavations, cleaning and conservation was carried out in the following areas during three weeks in July:

  • Northeast Cave: To prevent rainwater from entering through the ceiling, the exterior surface of the bedrock over the cave was covered with clay and then with a thin layer of cement. At the edge of the rock retaining walls were positioned to divert runoff from the courtyard and entrances to the cave below. Further study of the problems surrounding conservation of the cave will be carried out next year.
  • East temenos: Additional soil was added to the fill already in place in order to level the terrace north of the “Roman Altar”.
  • Great Circular Pit: A mortared retaining wall to prevent erosion was built at the west and northwest sides of the area around the pit, where the adjacent schoolyard lies at a higher level.
  • Southwest temenos: Existing retaining walls were repaired along the sides of the schoolyard.
  • The West Waterworks, which had been covered with sand in 2000, was outlined on the surface to show visitors the shape and location of the monument.
  • In the Isthmia Museum the area outside the west wall of the apotheke was cleared and a drainage pipe was laid to prevent collection of water and leakage into the interior. Leaks in the apotheke windows were repaired, and the window frames were cleaned and repaired.
  • Palaimonion: Fritz Hemans designed a roof that will cover each end of the tunnel leading into the base of the temple in order to prevent further damage to the clay sides and the roof of the passage.
    II. Studies for publications in the Isthmia seriesArms and Armor, by Alastar Jackson
    Study continued on the body armor and weapons, while photographs were taken by Ioannides and Barztioti and conservation was continued by Stella Bouzakis and Nikolaos Didaskalos.
    It was noted that, while dedications of armor began in the late 8th century, they reached their apex in the 6th century, exhibiting a sharp rise in the second half.

    Archaic Temple of Poseidon, by Fritz Hemans
    New observations on the roof tiles suggest the use of a template in their manufacture (following C.LeRoy in Fouilles de Delphes). It was observed that marks on the tiles seem to be associated with a process of fitting that could only have been done in situ and before the tiles were fired. The tiles appear to have been designed according to a foot of 0.326 m. At the level of the eaves, four tiles occupied each intercolumniation and were carefully aligned with the columns below.

    Late Archaic and Early Classical Pottery , by Martha Risser (with students A. Ditta, J. Poppell, and M. Steeley)
    Inventoried and context pottery (including stamped amphora handles) was brought up-to-date, and 516 items were prepared for the catalogue.
    A preliminary survey of the ceramics in the database showed that during the 6th century B.C. the number of kotylai increased, and in the second half of the century there was a shift from aryballoi to lekythoi, a shape that Corinth adopted from Athens,. Miniature vessels very likely made for dedication became more common during the same century, and their popularity markedly rose during the second half. These trends could be, but not need not certainly be, associated with the period when the Isthmian Games acquired panhellenic status (cf. the arms and armor).

    Hellenistic and Roman Pottery, by John Hayes
    Checking and additional drawings were done in the museum. Several sections of the volume were submitted to the editor in draft form.

    Coins, by Liane Houghtalin
    The entire collection of coins was checked for completeness of inventory and condition of preservation. Recent cleaning made it possible to improve some identifications and descriptions, especially in the case of Frankish examples that bear secret mintmarks and others that were revealed to be counterfeits of their day.

    Stone tools, by Ivan Gatsov
    All stone tools were inspected, and inventories made or updated. It was observed that grinding implements predominate, probably related to food preparation in or near the temenos. The paucity of pounding instruments was noted. Nick Kardulias is working on the obsidian blades.

    GPS reading on the Archaic Temple, by Erin Nell
    For a comparative study of Greek and Egyptian temples in regard to their cardinal, stellar and solar orientation, readings with a Global Positioning Survey unit were taken in twelve areas of the temple on two successive days.

    Respectfully submitted by Professor Elizabeth R. Gebhard
    Director, University of Chicago Excavations at Isthmia
    9 October 2001