Report on the 1993 Season

Elizabeth R. Gebhard, Director

The season began the end of May and continued through September. The major projects were Part II of the 1989 excavation report for Hesperia, object photography, plans of the Rachi and other drawings, and additions to the data-base, as well as writing and updating text for the publications.


The photo archives of the excavations since 1952 were organized and computerized by Michiel Bootsman of the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam. Bootsman noted that Broneer’s negatives are deteriorating and need conservation, and he submitted a proposal for such a project in 1994.

All photographs and drawings for Isthmia , VII, The Metal Objects were reviewed. About 100 objects must be re-photographed and ca. negatives 150 reprinted. This is planned for Fall, 1993.

A new set of aerial photgraphs were made of the site by Will and Ellie Myers with emphasis on areas excavated in 1989 and on the field, purchased in 1992, between the Temple and the Bath. The Rachi Settlement was photograhed for the first time from the air.

Rachi Settlement
V. Anderson-Stojanovic

Fritz Hemans and Pieter Collet completed the actual state and restored plans and sections of the Rachi Settlement (Plan attached). Two hundred pottery profiles were drawn and/or inked.

Study of the working floors, adjacent cuttings and associated stone weights in comparison with similar installations elsewhere led to the conclusion that olives were pressed on the working floors to produce oil that was collected in the adjacent vats. These is evidence of other activities, such as working leather and dying cloth.

Seventy-eight samples from the settlement, including bee hives, cement floors, and vats, were taken by Richard Evershed (Bristol) for residue analysis.

The Mycenaean Settlement and Early Iron Age Sanctuary
C. Morgan

A principal area of study was the so-called Mycenaean wall on the Isthmus. Information from earlier excavations was collated and the pottery lots were placed within their excavation context. The construction of various segments of the wall was studied. The goal is to present the evidence on which the date, identification and function of the wall is based and to consider its place alongside Isthmia in the overall pattern of Mycenaean activity in this area.

Visits to Arta and Ioannina allowed study of unpublished Corinthian pottery (Arta, Ioannina Panepistimioupoli and Kato Merope). Parallels, especially with open vessels of the third quarter of the 8th c. B.C., were noted.

An exchange study session with members of the Greek Service based at Eleusis allowed comparison with recent material from Eleusis, Megara and Salamis.

Archaic and Classical Temples of Poseidon
F.P. Hemans

The cella wall blocks of the Archaic Temple were photographed by Bootsman and Hemans, completing the documentation for Heman’s new study of the building. The blocks were then arranged for permanent display at the north edge of the temenos.

Hemans continued his study of the stone chips coming from fluting the Classical Temple shafts. Tool marks show that, before being erected, each column drum was given a smooth surface, probably on a lathe. The drum was then marked with a notation indicating its place in the colonnade. The use of such notations, more commonly found on buildings where the blocks were dismantled and then rebuilt, points to a phase in the construction when all the drums were cut at one time in some central place other than the building site, rather than being individually finished as they were put in place. The columns were then transported to the temple and erected with the help of the notations on each drum.

Archaic Pottery, ca. 700 – 550 B.C.
K. Arafat

At the Museum the context pottery from the 1989 excavations was examined to find parallels to the better-preserved vases already entered in the catalogue (1992). The majority of vessels throughout the temenos are cups, whose fragments are small and widely scattered throughout the deposits. Votive types, especially miniatures, are well-represented. Alan Johnson provided new information on the dates of amphoras. Nota Kourou confirmed the Archaic date of the plainwares mentioned in the 1992 report and provided some parallels. She thought the handmade juglets from the Archaic Temple may belong to the end of the 8th or early 7th c. B.C.

The Photoarchiv at the German Institute was consulted for material from Aigina and Samos. Visits to museums in Corfu, Arta, and Ioannina revealed imported Corinthian pottery with parallels at Isthmia. While much Corinthian pottery was exported to both regions, they had their indigenous productions in imitation of Corinthian but also exhibiting considerable independence.

Eastern and Northern Temenos
E.R. Gebhard, F.P. Hemans

East terraces 6 and 7 were defined on the basis of the 1989 excavations and Broneer’s earlier campaigns. The phase plans for 400 B.C. (plan attached) and 300 B.C. were drawn to reflect the configuration of the terraces as horizontal surfaces with a drop that constituted a clear break at the eastern edge. This fact is significant for the definition of the temenos in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, when there was apparently no boundary wall except along the south side.

The tracks of the Corinth-Isthmus road and its southeast branch were found to lie farther north than had been supposed.

For the Roman period an examination of the roads that crossed the along altar following the sack of 146 B.C. enabled us to distinguish several previously unrecognized phases in the use and landscaping of the area in the first century A.D., when the Romans first held the Isthmian Games at the sanctuary. A hard surface was laid over the Hellenistic roads in the first Roman period (ca. A.D. 50-80/100). Some cart traffic continued until a new boundary wall blocked all roads in ca. A.D. 80/100 and the surface was again raised. The floor surface of the final phase of the eastern temenos (ca. 150 – 400) was removed in antiquity, probably after distruction of the shrine ca. A.D. 400. The ground level as found by Broneer lay below that final floor.

Phase plans for the periods of Nero, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius were revised.

Late Hellenistic and Roman Pottery
J.W. Hayes

Study of selected closed deposits from the Broneer excavations was continued in the southwestern area of the temenos.

Revisions were made on some descriptions for the 1989 excavation report.

Stamped Roof Tiles
M. Mills

Over 600 stamped tile have been catalogued and context information completed. 286 tiles were photographed by Bootsman, completing the documentation for the final publication.

Isthmia Museum

Stella Bouzakis and Nikos Didaskalou from the Corinth Museum continued conservation of metals and ceramics respectively. Removal of corrosion from an iron wheel rim of the 6th c. B.C. that was found in the Archaic Temple enabled us to reconstruct the wheel to which it was attached and the way it was made.

Jean Perras (secretary) entered the photo archives and new inventory material into the data-base, and managed the office. Eric Sorensen (U. of Chicago, Divinity School) checked all site references in the manuscript of Isthmia, VII, and made many corrections. John Egan (U. of Chicago, Classics Dept.) assisted with data entry and pottery inventories.


Arms and Armour
Alastar Jackson

Jackson returned to the Isthmia Museum in December and again in April, 1994 to continue his study of the arms and armour. He devoted considerable attention to the fragments of leg armour that are poorly preserved but give important information on provenance and date. He worked closely with conservator, Stella Bouzakis, on cleaning helmets and shields, on which intricate patterns are inscribed.

Large portions of his catalogue were entered into the site database by Jean Perras.

Classical and Hellenistic pottery
John Hayes

Hayes devoted two weeks in April-May, 1994 to study of the Classical and 4th century B.C. cooking and coarse wares. It will be necessary for him and others to complete the work originally undertaken by Julie Bentz on the pottery from ca. 550 B.C. to ca. 200 B.C. Bentz has completed the catalogue of fine wares, but there remains the coarse and cooking wares and the transport amphoras. Further clarification on assignments will take place during the study season of summer 1994. Dr. Bentz has recently completed law school and will pursue a career in that area.

Isthmia Museum

Conservation of metal objects and ceramics has continued under the expert care respectively of Stella Bouzakis and Nikos Didaskalou of the Corinth Museum.

Jean Perras entered the catalogue of inscriptions into the database. The catalogue was compiled by Daniel Geagan of McMaster University, who will prepare the final publication of the inscriptions from the Roman period. Perras also entered portions of the catalogue of arms and armour.

Shelves for photographic storage were costructed in the Museum office and all records re-organized.


Isthmia, Vol. VII, The Metal Objects, Exclusive of Arms and Armour, by the late Isabelle Raubitschek was copy-edited during the winter and is now in line for production at the publications office of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Princeton. We expect that the book will be published in late 1995 or 1996.

The volume on the Mycenaean Period and Early Iron Age by Catherine Morgan nears completion and is scheduled for submission to the director by the end of 1994 or early 1995.

Elizabeth R. Gebhard

“The Evolution of a Panhellenic Sanctuary: From Archaeology towards history at Isthmia”, in Greek Sanctuaries, New Approaches, eds. Nanno Marinatos and Robin Hägg, London, 1993, pp. 154-177.”The Isthmian Games and the Sanctuary of Poseidon in the Early Empire,” The Corinthia in the Roman Period, ed. T. Gregory, Journal of Roman Archaeology, Suppl. Vol. 8, 1994, pp. 78-94.

Virginia Anderson-Stojanovic

“A Well in the Rachi Settlement at Isthmia,” Hesperia 62 (1993) 257-302.

David Jordan

“Inscribed Lead Tablets from the Games in the Sanctuary of Poseidon,” Hesperia 63 (1994) 111-126.

Catherine Morgan

“The evolution of a sacral “landscape”: Isthmia, Perachora and the early Corinthian state,” in Placing the Gods, Sanctuaries and Sacred Space in Ancient Greece, eds. R. Osborne and S. Alcock, Oxford. Forthcoming.

Frederich Hemans

“Greek Architectural Terracottas from the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia,” Greek Architectural Terracottas, ed. N. Winter, Hesperia, Supplement, forthcoming.


Elizabeth R. Gebhard

“Votive offerings and processions in the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia”, International Seminar: Ancient Greek Cult Practice from Archaeological Evidence, Athens, 22-24 October 1993. Swedish Institute at Athens. (50 min.) “Votives in the Archaic Temple of Poseidon at Isthmia” Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Washington, D.C., Dec. 1993. (15 min); AJA 98 (1994) 313.

Catherine Morgan

“Ritual and Society in the Early Iron Age Corinthia”, International Seminar: Ancient Greek Cult Practice from ARchaeological Evidence, Athens, 22-24 October, 1993, Swedish Institute (50 minutes).

Virginia Anderson-Stojanovic

“Tanners and Dyers, Past and Present: Ethnoarchaeology in Morocco”, Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Washington, D.C., 1993, (15 min); AJA 98 (1994) 309-10.

Frederick Hemans

“The Construction of the Classical Doric Column”, Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Washington, D.C. 1993 (15 min.); AJA 98 (1994) 314.