The Future of Ancient History: Teaching the Past in the Modern Curriculum

Just got this circular via the listserve of the Association of Ancient Historians. Looks like an interesting session in the works for the 2016 meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in San Francisco. I don’t really know that history enrollments have declined overall in a macro sense (we’ve discussed this at length in my own department meetings) but I do think that ancient historians have a unique contribution to make within history departments.

The Future of Ancient History: Teaching the Past in the Modern Curriculum

Sponsored by the SCS Committee on Ancient History

Denise Demetriou (Michigan State University), Organizer

Like other humanistic enterprises, the study and teaching of Ancient History faces several challenges in the current historical moment – economic, technological, cultural, and political, among others.  Knowledge of history is seen as impractical, having little public value, and not preparing students sufficiently for today’s vocational marketplace.  Yet, while enrollments in the field of History have declined overall, those in the sub-field of Ancient History have not suffered to the same degree, if at all.  This suggests that Ancient History is particularly well-poised to meet the challenges it faces: it can rearticulate not only its intrinsic value but also how it can contribute to the study and teaching of other fields, such as Political Science, Literary Criticism, Economics, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and even the STEM disciplines.

The Committee on Ancient History invites scholars and students of ancient history to submit abstracts for papers that explore any aspect of the pedagogical contributions Ancient History can make to other disciplines and its unique role in the curricula of public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and high schools.  Questions the papers might address include but are not limited to:

· Distinct interdisciplinary modes of inquiry in ancient history

· Unique contributions to student learning outcomes

· Special vantage points from which to consider contemporary issues

· The place of ancient history in the modern curriculum

· Collaborative or team-taught courses across disciplines

Please submit anonymous abstracts for a talk no longer than 20 minutes as an email attachment to Denise Demetriou (demetri1@msu.edu) by March 2, 2015.  Abstracts should follow the SCS guidelines for formatting abstracts (http://apaclassics.org/annual-meeting/guidelines-authors-of-abstracts), and will be peer-reviewed anonymously by the SCS Committee on Ancient History.

Posted in Conferences | Leave a comment

The First Urban Churches: Roman Corinth (In the Works)

A couple of years ago, I had the good fortune of participating in a session at the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) conference on the theme of Polis and Ekklesia: Investigations of Urban Christianity. The paper I delivered outlined new perspectives on the diolkos and the implications of this research for understanding the commercial backdrop of the early Christian communities at Corinth.

The good news is that this session will soon be published by SBL as part of a multi-volume series on Polis and Ekklesia edited by James R Harrison and L.L. Welborn. The first three volumes are either in the works or forthcoming:

The First Urban Churches. Volume 1: Methodology: As the editors

have summarized this volume, “This book, comprising all the invited papers of SBL Consultation Polis and Ekklesia (SanFranciso, 2011) and with the addition of other solicited contributions, concentrates on the responsible use of documentary (papyrological, epigraphic), numismatic, iconographic, and archaeological evidence in reconstructing the historical, social, cultural, and economic life of cities, their inhabitants and neighbours in antiquity. This volume forms a preface to the study of the significant biblical cities in the first-century AD, charted in the subsequent eight volumes of the series.”

The First Urban Churches. Volume 2: Roman Corinth. According to the editors, “This book, comprising all the papers of SBL Consultation Polis and Ekklesia (Chicago, 2012) and with the addition of other solicited contributions, concentrates on the epigraphic, numismatic, iconographic, and archaeological evidence in reconstructing the historical, social, cultural, and economic life of Roman Corinth in the early Christian era.”

The First Urban Churches. Volume 3: Ephesus. According to the editors, “This book, comprising all the papers of SBL Consultation Polis and Ekklesia (Baltimore, 2013) and with the addition of other solicited contributions, concentrates on the epigraphic, numismatic, iconographic, and archaeological evidence in reconstructing the historical, social, cultural, and economic life of Ephesus in the early Christian era.”

Here’s an outline for the second volume on Roman Corinth, which is scheduled for delivery to the press later this year: 

1. Laurence L. Welborn, “Polis and Ekklesia: Investigating Roman Corinth in Its Urban Context”

2. Cavan Concannon, “Negotiating Multiple Modes of Religion and Identity at Roman Corinth”

3. Kathy Ehrensperger, “Negotiating Polis and Ekklesia: Challenge and Re-Assurance in 1 Cor 12:1-11”

4. Michael Peppard, “Roman Controversiae about Inheritance Disputes and 1 Corinthians 6”

5. David Pettegrew, “Lost in the Country: Corinthian Territory and the Early Christian Communities of the 1st Century CE”

6. Annette Weisenreider, “Bodies and Space: Sitting or Reclining in 1 Corinthians 14:30”

7. Brad Bitner, “Τὰ γραφέντα PRO ROSTRIS LECTA: Bilingual Inscribing in Roman Corinth”

8. Fredrick J Long, “‘The god of This Age’ (2 Cor 4:4) and Paul’s Empire-Resisting Gospel”

9. Laurence L. Welborn, “Paul, the Politics of ‘Equality’ and the Power Monopoly of the Corinthian Elite”

10. James R Harrison, “The Cursus Honorum in the Roman Colonies of Corinth and Philippi: Consequences for Paul’s Gospel and Rhetoric”

I spent much of January revising my 2012 conference paper and adding substance. My chapter, “Lost in the Country: Corinthian Territory and the Early Christian Communities of the 1st Century CE,” offers case studies in how the countryside / landscape might intersect with the study of the first Christians. In particular, I want to highlight the territory as a fundamental part of the “polis” in Roman times. Here’s the working abstract.

“Corinthian territory has occupied a paradoxical role in the modern scholarship surrounding Paul’s mission to Corinth and the Christian community in conflict. In one respect, the isthmian crossroads has functioned as an essential backdrop to understanding the population’s maritime orientation, commercial proclivities, and general tendencies to immorality and division. The twin harbors of Lechaion and Kenchreai, the pan-Hellenic sanctuary at Isthmia, and the diolkos allegedly made Corinth a city of transients at a great crossroads of the ancient world. In another respect, scholars have regularly disregarded the territory in their discussions of the Corinthian correspondence as though the region beyond the city’s boundaries was of little concern or interest to the earliest Christians. In this paper, I propose a different way of thinking about the intersections of the early Christian community with the countryside. Through a series of case studies on the diolkos, canal, harbors, and agriculture, I highlight the contingent developments of the territory and their effects on the developing ekklesia. The region was not a timeless commercial thoroughfare but developed historically in the course of the first century CE. This paper, then, recommends greater attention to the historical developments of the territory and their influence on the local religious communities.”

I’ll post more as this collection of essays moves toward publication.

Posted in Agriculture, Book and Article Reviews, Canal, Christian - 1 Corinthians, Christian - 2 Corinthians, Christian - Churches, Christian - St. Paul, Diolkos, Periods, Roman, Territory, Urban Center | Leave a comment

2013-2014 Publications in Corinthian Studies: New Testament, Christianity, and Judaism

This is the fourth and final post in a series of bibliographic releases of new Corinthian scholarship published or digitized in 2013-2014. See this post last last Monday for further information about the sources of this bibliography and instructions for accessing the Zotero database. For earlier releases, see these posts:

Today’s list presents scholarship published or digitized in 2013 and 2014 related in some way to the subjects of Christianity, Judaism, and early Christianity. This includes some scholarship on the Hellenistic and early Roman “backgrounds” of Christianity and Judaism but most of this material focus directly on questions of religion.

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I have divided these reports by year to keep them manageable. Download the PDFs by right clicking on these link:

I generated these reports through Zotero tags and searches, and there are undoubtedly missing entries as well as false positives. For best results, visit the Zotero library or download the RIS file into your bibliographic program.

If you see references missing from the list, please send to corinthianmatters@gmail.com

Posted in Bibliography, Christian - 1 Corinthians, Christian - 2 Corinthians, Christian - Churches, Christian - Patristic Interpretation, Christian - Post-Pauline, Christian - Saints, Christian - St. Paul, Judaism, Periods, Hellenistic, Periods, Late Antiquity, Periods, Medieval, Periods, Modern, Periods, Roman, Roman Religion, Territory, Texts, Urban Center | Leave a comment

Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians (Malcolm): A Review

As I work to gather the treasure trove of new New Testament scholarship of 2013-2014 into a long PDF report or two, the mid-Atlantic and east coast of the U.S. are gearing up for violent winter storm Juno, which shall just graze us here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but will dump several feet of snow on our neighbors to the northeast. In the meantime, you can feast on this recent review at Themelios of Matthew Malcolm’s recent work, Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians: The Impact of Paul’s Gospel on His Macro-Rhetoric, Cambridge 2013.

Malcolm is a sometimes blogger here at Corinthian Matters and runs his own blog with plentiful Corinthiaka at Cryptotheology. I saw him deliver a brilliant talk on the subject of his book (“kerygmatic rhetoric”) at the international meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature conference in London several years ago. I was not surprised to see this positive review.


Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 CorinthiansHere’s the Abstract: “The first letter to the Corinthians is one of the most discussed biblical books in New Testament scholarship today. Despite this, there has been no consensus on its arrangement and central theme, in particular why the topic of the resurrection was left until the end of the letter, and what its theological significance would have been to the Corinthian church. Matthew R. Malcolm analyses this rhetoric of ‘reversal’, examines the unity of the epistle, and addresses key problems behind particular chapters. He argues that while Jewish and Greco-Roman resources contribute significantly to the overall arrangement of the letter, Paul writes as one whose identity and rhetorical resources of structure and imagery have been transformed by his preaching, or kerygma, of Christ. The study will be of interest to students of New Testament studies, Pauline theology and early Christianity.”

And a taste of Drake’s review at Themelios:

“The letter of 1 Corinthians is greatly discussed within New Testament scholarship. One of the matters that needs resolution is its arrangement and central theme. In other words, is there any particular reason as to why Paul begins with wisdom, proceeds to sexual immorality, then on to weak and strong brothers, the use of spiritual gifts, and then concludes with the resurrection? Is he addressing the greatest needs at Corinth first, or is there some reason as to why he has arranged the letter in this way? Several scholars have seen these issues within 1 Corinthians to be unrelated while others find a continuity of thought. Matthew Malcolm proposes that it is the nature of Paul’s preached message that accounts for the movement from cross and sacrifice to resurrection. He believes that this provides the better explanation over appeals to Greco-Roman rhetoric or Jewish literary methods….

Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians contributes significant data to the question of the coherence and arrangement of the epistle. It rightly accentuates how Paul’s message of the crucified and risen Messiah provides a key theme for considering the arrangement of the entirety of the letter. It also rightly encourages a theological and pastoral consideration of the letter. It will be of great interest to those working in Pauline theology, Corinthian studies, and rhetorical studies.”

Read the rest of the review here.

New Testament scholarship reports tomorrow or Wednesday, I hope.

Posted in Book and Article Reviews, Christian - 1 Corinthians, Christian - St. Paul | 1 Comment

A Review of Dixon’s Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Corinth, 338-196 BC

For a first review of Michael Dixon’s new book on Hellenistic Corinth, check out this post from Bill Caraher’s Archaeology of the Mediterranean World blog.

Routledge has also posted an interview with Dixon about the book.

 

Posted in Book and Article Reviews, Hellenistic, Texts | Leave a comment

2013-2014 Publications in Corinthian Studies: Byzantine-Modern Periods

This is the third in a series of bibliographic posts related to Corinthian scholarship published or digitized in 2013-2014:

  • See Monday’s post for further information about the sources of this bibliography
  • See  Tuesday’s post for Prehistoric-Hellenistic period
  • See Wednesday’s post for the Roman era

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This list contains new scholarship broadly related to the Corinthia in the following periods:

  • Late Antiquity
  • Byzantine
  • Frankish
  • Venetian
  • Ottoman
  • Modern

Download the PDF by right clicking on this link:

If you see references missing from the list, please send to corinthianmatters@gmail.com

We will complete the series next week with New Testament and Religion.

Posted in Bibliography, Periods, Byzantine, Periods, Medieval, Periods, Modern, Periods, Ottoman, Periods, Venetian | Leave a comment

2013-2014 Publications in Corinthian Studies: Roman Period

This is the second in a series of bibliographic posts related to Corinthian scholarship published, uploaded, or digitized in 2013-2014.

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Today’s report contains new scholarship broadly related to the Corinthia in the Roman and Late Antique periods, but not articles and books related to the New Testament (which we will post separately next week).

Download the PDF by right clicking on this link:

Posted in Bibliography, Periods, Late Antiquity, Periods, Roman | Leave a comment

2013-2014 Publications in Corinthian Studies: Prehistoric-Hellenistic Periods

This is the first in a series of bibliographic posts related to Corinthian scholarship published or digitized in 2013-2014. See yesterday’s post for further information about the sources of this bibliography. I have used Zotero’s Report feature to export bibliography to PDF so that the listing includes URLs and abstracts (when available).

Screenshot (28)

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it does contain a good collection of new scholarship broadly related to the Corinthia in the following periods.

  • Neolithic
  • Bronze Age
  • Geometric
  • Archaic
  • Classical
  • Hellenistic

Download the PDF by right clicking on this link:

If you see references missing from the list, please send to corinthianmatters@gmail.com

Posted in Bibliography, Periods, Archaic, Periods, Bronze Age, Periods, Classical, Periods, Geometric, Periods, Greek (Geometric-Hellenistic), Periods, Hellenistic, Periods, Interim | Leave a comment

Corinthian Studies Library, Version 2.0 (RIS)

As it’s a national day of service here in the U.S.A., I’m going to release this little gift of bibliography to those of you who follow Corinthian Studies. Now I realize this isn’t quite the same as going to clean up the city park, but I always hope there’s some basic value for others in maintaining this up-to-date bibliography.

A couple of years ago, I released the first version of an RIS library file (CorinthianStudies_v.1_10-10-12)  importable to Zotero, EndNote, or RefWorks. As this page describes, that bibliography contained 1,535 items at that time. Since then, the library has grown substantially as I have added material along the way and worked systematically to add items from major collections like OCLC WorldCat. I’m grateful for willing and able students like Rachel Carey, history major at Messiah College, who has been building the collection over the last two weeks. As of this morning, the library has grown to 2,448 entries. I am planning on working with a student or two in the next couple of months to expand the collection and improve it in different ways. When / If that happens, I will release a subsequent version. In the meantime, download the new version (2.0) here: CorinthianStudies_v.2_1-16-15.ris

The new RIS includes references from:

1. ARCHAEOLOGY COLLECTIONS: All of the entries from the bibliography of Corinth XX (2003), the Isthmia Library document (no longer online), and Corinthia-related references from the forthcoming Hesperia supplement on the Isthmus of Corinth.

2. PROJECTS: The publications of the Corinth Computer Project, Eastern Korinthia Survey, OSU Excavations at Isthmia, University of Chicago Excavations at Isthmia, Saronic Harbors Archaeological Project, and Kenchreai Cemetery Project.

3. NEW TESTAMENT and RELIGION: All articles published in three recent works related to archaeology, history, religion, and the New Testament: Urban Religion in Roman Corinth (2005), Corinth in Context (2010), and Corinth in Contrast (2013), as well as relevant Corinthia bibliography in the first two of those books. Material from a number of commentaries of 1 and 2 Corinthians is also included.

4. CORINTHIAN MATTERS: All Corinthianmatters bibliography collected on the Corinthianmatters website since 2010.

5. A JSTOR search on keywords Corinth, Corinthia*, Kenchreai/Cenchreae, Lechaion/Lechaum, and Isthmia/Isthmus, from 1800-2012.

6. WORLDCAT: A WorldCat search on keywords Corinth, Corinthia*, Kenchreai/Cenchreae, Lechaion/Lechaum, and Isthmia/Isthmus for 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014.

The best way to access the full bibliographic metadata from this library, including URL addresses, full bibliographic data, and abstracts, is to view the RIS file through a bibliographic software program like Zotero, which is free. You’ll get more search power though software, which mines fields (e.g., the abstracts) that the online version does not.

If you don’t want to download the software, you can still browse the Corinthian Studies Library at Zotero. The search capabilities of the online version are not as great since the engine only mines titles and authors and dates but it’s good for basic searching. You might want to read this page first.

Finally, for you LIST PEOPLE, we’ll be releasing some recent bibliographic material over the course of the next week. Stay tuned.

Posted in Bibliography | Leave a comment

Ten Unexpected Stories of Corinthian Archaeology, 2014

Cozied up at a country house near Granville, Ohio, my family ushered in the new year watching Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future II. This movie was a blast from the past. Released in 1989, I was a 15 year old skateboard punk when the film came out, and I distinctly recall conversations with friends about the (im)possibilities of the “hoverboard” – a wheel-less skateboard that floats on air (one of my friends claimed to have ridden one). In the second movie in the series, Doc Brown and Marty McFly travel 30 years into the strange future of 2015 with flying cars, hoverboards, automatic shoelaces, video conferencing, drones, accurate weather forecasts, and biometric scanners. This visit to 2015 causes a disruption of the space time continuum when the antagonist Biff Tannen borrows the time machine, visits his youthful self in 1955, and creates a new dystopian past and present (which alters the future 2015, of course), which resolves itself ultimately in the year 1885. No doubt Back to the Future II will be a hit this year: there are already a number of stories and videos like this one from the Washington Post, which compare the 2015 depicted in the film with the 2015 of our day.

Some of the stories of Corinthian Archaeology in 2014 remind me a bit of the strange world that the 1985 Marty McFly encounters when he travels 30 years into the future. There’s a kind of improbable, unexpected, or futuristic ring to them from the perspective of classical archaeology practiced a generation ago. How many archaeologists working in the Corinthia in, say, 1984, imagined that the following news stories would comprise the major archaeological events of 2014? If our time traveling archaeologist of 1984 had visited the year 2014 and stolen some tools and returned to the past, imagine the mayhem this would have created for the space time continuum.

Since it’s that time of year to compile lists of the greatest archaeological finds of 2014 (see, for example, this one from ASOR and this one from Archaeology magazine), it seemed fitting for Corinthian Matters to publish a ranking of the top ten unexpected stories of 2014. None of the stories below focus on new archaeological discoveries of 2014, which will not appear in journals anyway for at least several years, and none focus on new scholarship that made a splash last year, although your friends at Corinthian Matters are busily updating the Zotero library as we speak and will unleash a slew of new articles and books in the next couple of weeks. The stories below, rather, relate to the archaeological practice of Mediterranean archaeology, and are ranked not by their overall intellectual ramifications or importance per se – although many of them have already had an impact on archaeological knowledge – but according to their shock value – the “Great Scott!” of Doc Brown – from the vantage point of the past. Focusing on archaeological practice, I have had to exclude some pretty awesome stories like daredevil Red Bull pilot Peter Beneyei flying through the Corinth Canal twirling and whirling and plunging and looping. All the same, the ranking in its own way provides some view of the shifting landscape of archaeological practice today, especially as technology has crept into archaeological craft. Now I respect that you might arrange this list in a different order, or might substitute one story for another but here’s the AUTHORITATIVE list of Corinthian archaeology stories (where “Corinthian archaeology” is archaeology that has something to do wi5h the Corinthia).

10. Zigzag Art Discovered in the Panayia Field in Corinth

This story was certainly unexpected. It was one of the most widely circulated but least significant stories of the year which has to be included because it hit so many archaeological channels. The short piece from Live Science highlighted “Zigzag Art” on Geometric vessels from a sarcophagus of Corinth dating to the early 8th century BC. Zigzags are great, but are not overly impressive on Geometric vases (zigzags carved by early humans on 500,000 year old shells, on the other hand, are pretty cool). The author missed the major story – outlined in this recent report in Hesperia – about the early technological achievements of the Corinthian population. Still, the Panayia field excavations got some fine media attention. That the archaeological work reported in the Hesperia article and news piece was carried out a decade ago shows how long it can take for archaeological knowledge to reach the public and why it’s hard to put together a top ten list of discoveries of Corinthian archaeology in 2014. We may not know for many more years the full significance of what archaeologists documented last year.

9. The World’s Largest Solar Boat Arrives in Corinth

Ms-Turanor-PlanetSolar-departs-Monaco-27-September-2010-Photo-courtesy-of-PlanetSolarThis one also I didn’t see coming, but like the zigzags, got a lot of press. In July, the world’s largest solar-powered boat, “Tûranor PlanetSolar,” visited the port of New Corinth for several days and then sailed through the Canal. Operated by researchers from the Swiss School of Archaeology and the Greek Ministry of Culture, the catamaran was on an archaeological enterprise to the Argolid to conduct an underwater survey in search of a putative prehistoric settlement near Franchthi Cave. The boat was equipped with geophysical survey equipment that would map the seabed. The scale of the solar ship, as well as the technology employed for underwater survey, make this story worthy of report even though the archaeological work fell well outside the realm of the Corinthia. I never did hear what they discovered. See also coverage at  this site.

8. Good Luck for the Eutychia Mosaic at Corinth

Screenshot (23)In August, the ASCSA announced plans to restore the Eutychia mosaic through a generous donation. The organization provided this update in October. The restoration of a mosaic is not improbable per se from the vantage point of 1984 (conservation work was taking place at the great monochrome mosaic at Isthmia in the 1980s), but was nonetheless unexpected, and deserves to make the list given its significance for Corinthian archaeology and the publicity of the process (see no. 2 below). The Eutychia mosaic was originally uncovered in excavations of the South Stoa in the 1930s and has in recent decades been enclosed in a dark room off limits to visitors in the southeastern corner of the forum in Corinth. It’s that mosaic you can never really make out when you peer through the fence surrounding it. Since Broneer’s excavation, the mosaic has been interpreted as part of the office of agonothetes: the mosaic show a victorious athlete with a goddess holding a shield inscribed with eutychia, or “Good Luck.” It’s great that Betsey Robinson’s recent article in Hesperia publicized the need for restoration work, and also cool that that the work was recorded with video and publically released in tandem with the conservation.

7. Western Argolid Regional Archaeological Project Begins

P1070124As a landscape archaeologist, it’s inevitable that at least one survey project would make this list. Several friends and collaborators from the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project and the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey teamed up to launch a new distributional survey in the western Argolid with an acronym – WARP – that competes with any survey project of Greece and Cyprus. I had the good fortune of visiting this beautiful survey territory, the Inachos Valley, in the opening days of the project. Now, this isn’t the Corinthia per se, but the team contained so many Corinthian archaeologists that it seemed right to include the project in the rankings. Plus the project came on strong in the blogsophere with committed bloggers like Bill Caraher and Dimitri Nakassis pumping out interesting social media on a daily basis. The idea of a survey is not that unexpected of course from 1984, when some of the major surveys of Greece were fully in motion. Nonetheless, WARP gives us an example of an efficiently run hyper-intensive survey. As their abstract for a conference paper describes their work, the project surveyed some 5.5 sq km using very intensive distributional survey methods in a single season – greater coverage, that is, than the 4 sq km covered by the Eastern Korinthia Survey over three seasons (although EKAS was beleaguered by permit problems). If WARP is this efficient over the next two seasons, the project may end up one of the most efficient, intensive surveys projects carried out in Greek lands.

6. American School Launches New Maps and Spatial Data

Screenshot (27)It’s hard to know whether our classical archaeologist of 1984 would have imagined how important the GIS revolution would be for archaeologists of the future. The concept and technology for geographic information systems was established by the mid-1980s but commercial GIS software did not become widely available until the 1990s. Today archaeologists cannot live without it. In September, the ASCSA announced the dedication of a page populated with free GIS data, which continues to grow into a one-stop shop for free downloadable files related to Greece and the Peloponnese: digital elevation models, roads and cities, topographic contours, and ready made maps. I got to tour a beta version of this page in late August and had planned to blog the news release but the arrival of a little baby boy in early September changed that. This news certainly deserves a place on the list since it makes a major contribution to many different engagements on Corinthian archaeology. I will soon update the maps section of this site to point to this site.

5. The Lechaion Harbour Project Launches

One of the most exciting stories of the year was the launching of the Lechaion Harbour Project (LHP), a Danish-Greek enterprise designed (according to the project’s Facebook page) “to digitally survey, excavate, study, and publish the submerged archaeological remains of Corinth’s main harbor town Lechaion.” Some of the news outlets wrongly reported that Lechaion’s harbor had been discovered (it had never fully been lost). The real story was the use of such sophisticated equipment to map the underwater remains at Lechaion and – this is important – a systematic archaeological study of the harborworks. The project released a series of updates and mini-reports via its Facebook page about the process of an underwater digital survey through the use of dredges and a “3D parametric sub-bottom profiler” (sounds futuristic?). See this brief report from Archaeology magazine, this longer one from The Greek Reporter, and the original press release.

4. Michigan State University Wins NEH grant for Archaeological Resource Cataloging System

ARCS notebook

This story didn’t circulate as widely as I expected it would, but when the news release comes from was the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities, you know it’s big. Dr. Jon Frey of Michigan State University was awarded a Digital Humanities Implementation grant on the order of $324,586 to develop and expand a tool called Archaeological Resource Cataloging System (ARCS) for digitizing the excavation notebooks at Isthmia, Nemea, Tauric Chersonesos, and Polis (Cyprus). ARCS is an open-source application for preserving and interacting with excavation notebooks and other field documents. This is a boon not only to Corinthian archaeology but also for smaller archaeological projects that are trying to record and preserve data on limited budgets. It’s also unexpected from our vantage year 1984. For a review of grant awarded, see this post, and Dr. Frey’s comments here.

3. The American School Launches its Virtual Field Trip App to Corinth

2014-08-25 09.21.32After a fifty year hiatus in publishing edition after revised edition of the official guidebook to Corinth and its museum, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens announced the imminent publication (now in production) of a seventh edition of Ancient Corinth: A Guide to the Site and Museum, plus – and here’s the kicker – a now available digital tour of Ancient Corinth via the Field Trip app available for iPhones and Androids. As I wrote in my review of the product, the Field Trip app enhances and greatly changes the user’s experience of Corinth. Visitors to the site who make use of the app can jump in and out of tour from anywhere on site (freeing them from the linear tour of the old guidebooks) and – really cool – anyone anywhere in the world can “tour” Corinth. This kind of public and digital archaeology product deserves a high rank not only for being unexpected a generation ago but also for making a major contribution to the study of ancient Corinth.

 

****************************************************************************

Now, ranking two most unexpected stories of 2014 was a tossup. It could have gone either way, but this is, I think, the right order, if you accept that the last one qualifies.

2. Corinthian Archaeologists Record Excavations of Frankish Quarter with Google Glass

corinth_2014season1026wearableglasses

This one knocked my socks off. In April the ASCSA announced that it was conducting its excavations of the Frankish quarter in Corinth using Google Glass. The excavations of the Frankish quarter marked their own interesting story, but were not surprising in their own right (excavations of the Frankish quarter began at Corinth in the late 80s). Yet the futuristic wearable technology in recording contexts (image left) takes the ASCSA Back to the Future (image right). Not sure that Google Glass will be the wave of the future, but this clearly marked one of the year’s most unexpected stories that expands upon a range of new directions in digital recording systems. As the ASCSA’s final news release describes the experience, “For our purposes, the students used Glass to create an interesting series of FPV (first person view) videos summarizing their excavations at regular intervals. This not only challenged them to present their excavations in a different medium but also forced them to question different audiences and how video might supplement the existing excavation record.” And my favorite quote: “Some [students] also found talking to their glasses disconcerting.” 

Some of these FPV videos are available on Google Plus:

This story certainly would have been number one unexpected story of the year had it not been for an even more bizarre story that narrowly edged it out.

1. Corinthian Archaeologists Excavate Atari Burial Ground in Alamogordo, New Mexico (and launch Punk Archaeology)

Atari-Graveyard-ControllerI really have few words for the winner. It was truly and completely unexpected. Even if our hypothetical archaeologist in 1984 had predicted all of the above, she/he could never have predicted that a group of archaeologists who had spent so much of their careers working in Greece would have been part of an excavation of a landfill in New Mexico to dig up the dump of the worst video game of all time, the 1983 Atari flop, E.T. New Mexico is a long way from the Corinthia, but three members of the archaeological team – Andrew Reinhard, Richard Rothaus, and Bill Caraher – were trained in Corinthian archaeology through ASCSA projects, published on Corinthian materials (in the case of Rothaus and Caraher), and (in the case of Reinhard) oversaw ASCSA publications. Some may disqualify this piece from Corinthian archaeology, but using the logic of association (see no. number 7 above), I think it deserves its place in the ranking. The story appeared in the major news outlets like Archaeology Magazine and CNN, and exploded in the blogosphere, so that even the ASCSA promoted (and has continued to promote) the story on its website. Two fun articles on this Atari dig include this one in Harper’s Magazine about the new punk archaeologists, and this one in The Atlantic by the punk archaeologists. This is not mainstream classical archaeology by any means, but rather “punk archaeology” – whatever that phrase means. Like the other stories outlined above, the run of the punk archaeologists in a New Mexico landfill offers another telling example of the unpredictable practice of archaeology today.

Posted in Archaeological Survey, Blogosphere, Digital Corinthia, EKAS (Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey), Isthmia, Lechaion, Maps, Modern Corinthia, News Stories, Panayia Field, Social Media, Urban Center | 1 Comment