1998 Preliminary Report

With a permit from the Ministry of Culture and the assistance of the Fourth Ephoreia of Classical and Prehistoric Antiquities (Nafplion) and the Sixth Ephoreia of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Antiquities (Patras), The Ohio State University Excavations at Isthmia carried out a program of study and research at Isthmia for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, from 20 June to 14 September 1998. Funding was supplied by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, The Ohio State University, and many private donors. Special thanks are due to Ms. Zoe Aslamatzidou of the Fourth Ephoreia, Ms. Konstantina Skarmoutzou of the Sixth Ephoreia, and Ms. Maria Pilali and Professor James Muhly of the American School of Classical Studies.

Research this year focused primarily on various record-keeping tasks and bringing up to date work on a number of widely dispersed projects. Work continued toward final publication of the Roman Bath to the north of the Temple of Poseidon. Fikret Yegul of the University of California at Santa Barbara coordinated architectural study and recording. Professor Birgitta Wohl of California State University at Northridge worked for some time at the site, preparing for publication the lamps found in the Roman Bath. Professor Richard DeMaris, Valparaiso University, and Professor Scott Nash, Mercer University, worked on completion of the catalogue of Roman pottery from the Bath that Jeanne Marty had nearly finished before her untimely death in December of 1997. Progress was made in the analysis of the stratigraphic evidence associated with the various phases of the Roman Bath and its predecessors and successors.

Research was also carried out in the area of the Northeast Gate, where Mr. Joseph Rife, of the University of Michigan, investigated two graves that had been opened in 1969. Mr. Rife's careful analysis of these graves provides important new information about their construction and date and the skeletal material within them. Mr. Rife also continued his work toward publication of the burials from the Late Roman and Byzantine period at Isthmia. In this he was joined this season by Dr. John Robb, of the University of Sheffield, who investigated the pathologies present in the skeletons from this period. Dr. Robb and Mr. Rife are working together to bring all this material to timely publication.

Mr. Daniel Curtis served this season as photographer and he made considerable progress in developing systems to produce publication-quality photographic prints from digital images, usually based on our original black-and-white photographic archive.

We continued our work this season on the recording procedures used at the site, involving a shift from simple computerized data bases to much more complex and interrelated ones. This has required considerable reorganization, gathering of new information, and keying-in of the resultant data.

We also continued our project of making excavation data available for educational use. This broader project remains under the supervision of Samuel Fee, who maintains the site web page (http://isthmia.osu.edu/) and has issued an updated version of his educational program Isthmia 4.0. Further progress was made in transferring excavation notebooks to electronic form, complete with digital versions of photographs and drawings.

Timothy E. Gregory
14 October 1998