Research Spotlight: Hellenistic Pottery from Corinth
Sarah James working in the pot sheds at Pietri house.
Hellenistic material from many years of excavations at Corinth by the American School of Classical Studies formed the basis of my dissertation on Corinthian Hellenistic fine wares. This research was undertaken over the course of four years and was made possible with support from the American School of Classical Studies at Athens’ Homer A. and Dorothy B. Thompson fellowship (2007-2008) and the University of Texas at Austin’s William S. Livingston Fellowship (2008-2009). I defended my dissertation entitled The Hellenistic Pottery from the Panayia Field: Studies in Chronology and Context in September 2010 at the University of Texas at Austin. Six Hellenistic deposits from the recent excavations in the Panayia Field form the core of my dissertation. These deposits include cisterns, a well and a floor deposit, and range in date from ca. 275 BC to the early 1st c. BC.  I thoroughly studied each deposit, quantifying and analyzing its fine ware, and when the results were combined I was able to create a new independent absolute chronology of Corinthian Hellenistic fine wares. I then used the Panayia Field chronology to reassess and substantially amend the fine ware chronology established by G. Roger Edwards in Corinth VII.3 (1975).  For example, the Panayia Field chronology indicates that the previous dates for the Corinthian kantharos series are at least 75 years earlier than can be supported by the new deposit evidence from the Panayia Field.  At the same time, the floor deposit from the Panayia Field is a unique example of an assemblage in primary deposition from the period between 146 and 44 BC.  Finds within this deposit suggest that ceramic production may have resumed shortly after the sack of the city. Inventoried pottery from South Stoa Well 27 on the mending table.   My research in Corinth was deeply enriched by contacts with other scholars who devote themselves to the study of Corinthian material, including Dr. Elizabeth Pemberton, Dr. Ian McPhee, and Dr. Kathleen Slane.  I am also indebted to Mr. Charles Williams, Dr. Nancy Bookidis, Dr. Ioulia Tzonou-Herbst and James Herbst for their generous assistance over the past four years, and in particular, to Dr. Guy Sanders for granting access to the pottery from the Panayia Field and other Hellenistic deposits in Corinth.  My study of Corinthian fine ware will be submitted to the ASCSA Publications Office in Princeton early in 2012, and the second phase of my research on Hellenistic Corinthian cooking and coarse wares will begin in spring 2012 thanks to funding from the ASCSA’s Kress Publications Fellowship. In addition to my ongoing role in Corinth’s excavations, for the past two summers I have worked with Hellenistic pottery from Greek rescue excavations at Sikyon under the auspices of Dr. Yannis Lolos of the University of Volos. I am presently co-editing the proceedings from a conference on social and religious inequalities in Greco-Roman Corinth held in Austin, Texas in 2010.  Currently, I am a lecturer in the Classics department at the University of Texas at Austin teaching courses on Ancient Greek culture and Greco-Roman drinking and dining practices.