Report on the 2011 Study Season

The University of Chicago Excavations at Isthmia, 2011

8 October 2011

LogoPreparation of publications and improvement of storage facilities in the Isthmia Museum occupied much of the year.

Visits to the Museum included the Friends of the Akropolis, two sessions of the American School Summer School, and numerous Greek and other European school groups. The lighting in the main exhibit hall was improved.

Jean Perras supervised activities at the site and copy-edited the volume of essays from the Conference of 2007 (see below). Conservation and renewal of storage containers was in the hands of Angeliki Kandri, assisted by Nicholaos Rothonis.


Collected Essays:

The Bridge of the Untiring Sea: the Corinthian Isthmus from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity” edited by E. R. Gebhard and T. E. Gregory was approved for publication by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, pending revisions, which have been largely completed. The revised manuscript is scheduled for submission in October 2011.

Late Archaic and Classical Pottery
Martha Risser, Trinity College.

Evidence for a date of 460-450 B.C. for the fire that destroyed the Archaic Temple is supported by analysis of burned pottery from the temple in comparison with dated deposits from Corinth (cf. appendix to Chapter 5 of the Bridge volume).

On the basis of a recent article on mortaria from the Punic Amphora Building, Sacred Spring, and Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore in Corinth (Villing, A. and E. G. Pemberton 2010. “Mortaria from Ancient Corinth: Form and Function,” Hesperia 79, pp. 555-638) all the Isthmian mortaria from the Great Circular Reservoir can be placed in the first half or middle of the fifth century B.C., thus supporting the hypothesis that the area of the reservoir was used for food preparation and feasting from about 550 to 450 B.C.

Terracotta Figurines
Arne Thomsen, Saarbrűcken

A group of figurines from an area west of the temenos of Poseidon differs markedly from those associated with the main shrine in being typical for female deities, especially Demeter. In conjunction with two votives of the 4th century B.C. inscribed “to Demeter” from the same general area, they support the identification of a shrine to the goddess located in what was later named the “Hiera Nape´ or Sacred Glen in an inscription of the 2nd century A.D. (IG IV.203).

Added to the ubiquitous horse-and-rider figurines (ca. 250) four small votive shields have been identified in the floor belonging to the temenos in the late 6th and early 5th centuries B.C.

Figurines of bulls, popular in the 7th century B.C., decline and disappear by the 5th century. Only a few other animals with the exception of horses are represented (dogs, birds, donkeys, snake, pig, dolphin). Of the human figures most are female, handmade and mold-made, coming from areas outside the main temenos, e.g. the Sacred Glen, Rachi Settlement. Seven are Mycenaean. A series of 24 boat models, appropriate for Poseidon, begins in the later 7th century and stops about 500 B.C. The number of figurines in the course of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. declines sharply and then disappears.

Respectfully submitted,
Elizabeth R. Gebhard