Agios Vasilios 1997

Agios Vasilios 1997 With a permit from the Ministry of Culture and with the cooperation of the 6th Ephoreia of Byzantine Antiquities (Patras), the Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia undertook a very brief program of study at the medieval castle of Agios Vasilios in the southern Korinthia during July of 1997. The purpose of this study was to learn more about the buildings located within the confines of the kastro and identified during previous campaigns of survey and recording. In particular, we hoped to gather information to help answer the following questions: a) whether the individual spaces located on the plan were independent buildings or rooms in larger structures, b) whether the buildings were of one or two story, and c) whether we can determine the use of any of the buildings, particularly the churches.

As a result, in a 3-day campaign of exploration, debris was partially removed from three buildings, identified as numbers 6, 27, and 61. Number 27, located below and just to the north of the keep, had been tentatively identified as a church because of its more-or-less east-west orientation and because it stood alone at the edge of what may have been a plateia. Number 61 is located in about the middle of the site at the western end of a row of rooms or independent buildings; it was hoped that this might provide evidence of whether the spaces were independent buildings or rooms of a larger complex. Building number 6 is located near the northern (lower) end of the site; its apparently odd shape invited exploration and explication.

The time allowed for this exploration was not enough to remove all the debris from any one of the three buildings. The discovery of several voussoir blocks in Building 27 suggest that it was originally vaulted, and several moulded blocks, including two pier capitals, suggest that this was a monumental building, perhaps indeed a church as originally indicated. Little direct information could be discerned about Buildings 6 and 61 except that their shapes were somewhat different from what was originally identified in the surface survey.

It is estimated that only about one-half of the fallen debris had been removed from each of these three structures. The completion of this cleaning operation will, therefore, have to wait until the 1998 season. The condition of the walls of the buildings, however, as they have been preserved, suggest that the structures will be in relatively good state of preservation and we may be confident that they will answer the important historical and archaeological questions we have posed for the everyday architecture of the later medieval period.