Archaeological Reports (Journal of Hellenic Studies)

The 2014 volume of Archaeological Reports is now out and promises some interesting new studies of the northeast Peloponnese and Greece.

If you’re not familiar with Archaeological Reports, the journal is published by the British School at Athens and offers “the only account of recent archaeological work in Greece published in English.”

Table of Contents:

“Introduction & overview” (Zosia Archibald)

“2013–2014 — a view from Greece” Catherine Morgan

“Newsround” (David M. Smith and Helen Murphy-Smith)

“Method in the archaeology of Greece”(Zosia Archibald)

“The work of the British School at Athens, 2013–2014” (Catherine Morgan)

“The city of Athens” (Robert Pitt)

“The Classical naval installations in the Piraeus” (Chryssanthi Papadopoulou)

“Central Greece and the Peloponnese (Archaic to Roman)” (David M. Smith)

“Recent epigraphic research in central Greece: Boeotia” (Fabienne Marchand)

“Crete (prehistoric to Hellenistic)” (Matthew Haysom)

“Macedonia and Thrace: Iron Age to post-Roman urban centres” (Zosia Archibald)

“Archaeobotany in Greece” (Alexandra Livarda)

“Rural sites in Roman Greece” (Daniel Stewart)

IF you visit the table of of contents online here, you can click on article titles to see an abstract or opening paragraph.

Two articles that caught my attention:

1. Smith, David M. “Central Greece and the Peloponnese (Archaic to Roman).” Archaeological Reports 60 (November 2014): 55–71. doi:10.1017/S0570608414000088.

The much shorter Archaiologikon Deltion for the single year of 2005 invariably offers far fewer reports on the work of the Archaeological Service than the four-year volume with which we were presented last year. This, in itself, is no bad thing, although the geographical and chronological balance generated by such a large dataset is notable by its absence. This unevenness is, as ever, partially offset by the publication of fieldwork, although certain areas maintain a far more visible archaeological presence than others. This is particularly true for the northeastern Peloponnese, which has, in recent years, been the recipient of an almost unparalleled focus of both research and rescue excavation; a fact reflected in the significant contribution made to this year’s report by the edited proceedings of the conference The Corinthia and the Northeast Peloponnese: Topography and History from Prehistoric Times until the End of Antiquity (Kissas and Niemeier 2013). A total of 56 individual papers provide details on sites that range in date from the Neolithic to the Byzantine period. A great strength of this collection lies in the contribution of so many current and former staff of the Archaeological Service, and, of the numerous papers that engage directly or indirectly with the archaeology of the Archaic to Roman period, several are discussed in greater depth in the course of this report. A complementary Hesperia supplement detailing the current state of prehistoric and historic research on the Corinthian Isthmus is due to appear before the end of the year (Gebhard and Gregory forthcoming), as is a study of material from Henry Robinson’s 1961–1962 excavation in the North Cemetery (Slane forthcoming). The study of religious practice during the Classical period benefits from the publication of the first volume of material from excavations conducted by the Canadian Institute in Greece between 1994 and 2001 in the Sanctuary of Athena at Stymphalos (Schaus 2014a), while the consolidation of synthetic regional studies and individual site reports within Villae Rusticae: Family and Market-oriented Farms in Greece under Roman Rule (Rizakis and Touratsoglou 2013) will no doubt ensure that it becomes a standard text for the study of the rural economy of Roman Greece (see Stewart, this volume).

2. Stewart, Daniel. “Rural Sites in Roman Greece.” Archaeological Reports 60 (November 2014): 117–32. doi:10.1017/S0570608414000131.

[W]hile pretending to throw some light upon classical authors by careful observation of the manners of the present day, romantic travellers succeeded in fact in accommodating reality to their dreams … by creating for themselves and for their readers carefully edited portraits of modern Greece that transformed the present into the living image of the past (Saïd 2005: 291).

Thirty years ago archaeological field survey promised to reshape radically our understanding of the countryside (Keller and Rupp 1983: 1–5). Traditional archaeological approaches to cities and monuments were increasingly seen to be extensions of textual research, and research on the rural landscape was envisaged as a way to access the other side of the traditional urban-rural dichotomy (though see the comments in Alcock 2007: 671–72). Some scholars estimated that, in the Classical period, the vast majority of Greek poleis had populations of less than 3,000 and territories no more than a few hours” walk from the urban core. Given that, they asked, does it make sense to divide elements of Greek life into “city” and “country”? In a sense, the study of landscapes was seen as a way to redress perceived imbalances between this urban-rural division and the picture painted by the ancient sources of Roman Greece as a pale reflection of its Classical brilliance. In the years since, landscape studies have grown to include much more than archaeological field survey, but this tension between textual and archaeological narratives remains at the heart of understandings of rural Roman Greece.

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Categories: Archaeological Discoveries, Archaeological Survey, Books and Articles, Diachronic, Economy, Isthmus, Periods, Periods, Archaic, Periods, Greek (Geometric-Hellenistic), Sites, Isthmia, Territory, Texts

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