“The Bridge of the Untiring Sea”. A New Book about the Isthmus

The closest I came to the Corinthia this year was a flight over the Isthmus en route to JFK from Athens. A very busy spring semester led directly to a productive field and museum season of the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project in May-early June. Now that I’m back in the US and the summer stretches before me, I have a little more time to release some Corinthiaka updates, news items, and reviews.

One important update is that the long-awaited book titled “The Bridge of the Untiring Sea”: The Corinthian Isthmus from Prehistory to Late Antiquity, has now entered proof stage and is scheduled for publication in late August. Edited by Elizabeth R. Gebhard and Timothy E. Gregory, this work publishes a conference held in 2007 at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens to celebrate 50 years of archaeological work at Isthmia and across the broader Isthmus. Here’s the book cover and description:

Pindar’s metaphor of the Isthmus as a bridge spanning two seas encapsulates the essence of the place and gives a fitting title for this volume of essays on the history and archaeology of the area. The Isthmus, best known for the panhellenic sanctuary of Poseidon, attracted travelers both before and after Pausanias’s visit in the 2nd century A.D., but only toward the end of the 19th century were the ruins investigated and, after another half century, finally systematically excavated. More recently, archaeologists have surveyed the territory beyond the sanctuary, compiling evidence for a varied picture of activity on the wider Isthmus and the eastern Corinthia. The 17 essays in this book celebrate 55 years of research on the Isthmus and provide a comprehensive overview of the state of our knowledge. Topics include an early Mycenaean habitation site at Kyras Vrysi; the settlement at Kalamianos; the Archaic Temple of Poseidon; domestic architecture of the Rachi settlement; dining vessels from the Sanctuary of Poseidon; the Temple Deposit at Isthmia and the dating of Archaic and early Classical Greek coins; terracotta figurines from the Sanctuary of Poseidon; the Chigi Painter; arms from the age of Philip and Alexander at Broneer’s West Foundation on the road to Corinth; new sculptures from the Isthmian Palaimonion; an inscribed herm from the Gymnasium-Bath complex of Corinth; Roman baths at Isthmia and sanctuary baths in Greece; Roman buildings east of the Temple of Poseidon; patterns of settlement and land use on the Roman Isthmus; epigraphy, liturgy, and Imperial policy on the Justinianic Isthmus; and circular lamps in the Late Antique Peloponnese.

I’m jazzed to see this volume in print. I have not seen any of these pieces other my own (obviously!) and Caraher’s piece on the Justinianic Isthmus. Most of the essays in the volume naturally focus on areas where the most fieldwork has occurred, especially in and around the Panhellenic sanctuary at Isthmia. A few consider the broader landscape of the eastern Corinthia including even places that are not on the Isthmus such as Kalamianos in the southeast Corinthia. 

Here’s the publication page for the book at the ASCSA website. The book is available for pre-ordering at Oxbow and Amazon, among other places.

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Categories: EKAS (Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey), Isthmus, Sites, Isthmia, Territory

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