Corinth Report: Nezi Field 2009 by spongberg hammond lima (2009-05-20 to 2009-05-21)
Collection:   Corinth
Type:   Report
Name:   Nezi Field 2009 by spongberg hammond lima (2009-05-20 to 2009-05-21)
Title:   Yellow Session 2 Summary
Context:   Nezi Field, context 6425
    Nezi Field, context 6183
    Nezi Field, context 5887
    Nezi Field, context 6308
    Nezi Field, context 6433
    Nezi Field, context 6379
    Nezi Field, context 6411
    Nezi Field, context 6168
    Nezi Field, context 6211
    Nezi Field, context 6227
    Nezi Field, context 6140
    Nezi Field, context 5485
    Nezi Field, context 6247
    Nezi Field, context 6292
    Nezi Field, context 5648
    Nezi Field, context 5599
    Nezi Field, context 6226
    Nezi Field, context 6264
    Nezi Field, context 6428
    Nezi Field, context 6353
    Nezi Field, context 5632
    Nezi Field, context 6284
    Nezi Field, context 6431
    Nezi Field, context 6252
    Nezi Field, context 6312
    Nezi Field, context 5606
    Nezi Field, context 6263
    Nezi Field, context 6233
    Nezi Field, context 6404
    Nezi Field, context 6403
    Nezi Field, context 6278
    Nezi Field, context 6334
    Nezi Field, context 5647
    Nezi Field, context 5642
    Nezi Field, context 6407
    Nezi Field, context 6170
    Nezi Field, context 5483
    Nezi Field, context 6270
    Nezi Field, context 6152
    Nezi Field, context 6249
    Nezi Field, context 5670
    Nezi Field, context 5519
    Nezi Field, context 5659
    Nezi Field, context 6343
    Nezi Field, context 6417
    Nezi Field, context 5466
    Nezi Field, context 6230
    Nezi Field, context 6406
    Nezi Field, context 5671
    Nezi Field, context 6306
    Nezi Field, context 6413
    Nezi Field, context 6231
    Nezi Field, context 6303
    Nezi Field, context 6364
    Nezi Field, context 6436
    Nezi Field, context 6285
    Nezi Field, context 5631
    Nezi Field, context 6372
    Nezi Field, context 6256
    Nezi Field, context 6261
    Nezi Field, context 6317
    Nezi Field, context 6397
    Nezi Field, context 6432
    Nezi Field, context 6352
    Nezi Field, context 5490
    Nezi Field, context 6213
    Nezi Field, context 6160
    Nezi Field, context 6351
    Nezi Field, context 6164
    Nezi Field, context 6381
    Nezi Field, context 5650
    Nezi Field, context 6388
    Nezi Field, context 6363
    Nezi Field, context 6437
    Nezi Field, context 6414
    Nezi Field, context 6300
    Nezi Field, context 6190
    Nezi Field, context 6027
    Nezi Field, context 5636
    Nezi Field, context 6146
    Nezi Field, context 6258
    Nezi Field, context 6245
    Nezi Field, context 5965
    Nezi Field, context 6171
    Nezi Field, context 6345
    Nezi Field, context 6181
    Nezi Field, context 5553
    Nezi Field, context 6408
    Nezi Field, context 6238
    Nezi Field, context 6169
    Nezi Field, context 6415
    Nezi Field, context 5471
    Nezi Field, context 5552
    Nezi Field, context 6222
    Nezi Field, context 6348
    Nezi Field, context 6427
    Nezi Field, context 6187
    Nezi Field, context 5834
    Nezi Field, context 6309
    Nezi Field, context 6398
    Nezi Field, context 6242
    Nezi Field, context 6166
    Nezi Field, context 6267
    Nezi Field, context 6307
    Nezi Field, context 6358
    Nezi Field, context 6172
    Nezi Field, context 6380
    Nezi Field, context 6220
    Nezi Field, context 6157
    Nezi Field, context 6277
    Nezi Field, context 6393
Area:   Nezi Field
Site:   Corinth
City:   Ancient Corinth
Country:   Greece
References:   Baskets (111)
We, Sarah Lima (SL), Mark Hammond (MH) and Kiersten Spongberg (KS) excavated North of Nezi between April 27, 2009 and May 15, 2009 (session II), focusing on the rooms bounded by walls 5483, 5403, 6027/6285/6300, and 6267/5631/5671/6245 (271.10-277.70 E, 1027.70-1023.67N) (east room); and walls 5483, 5484, 5284, and 5519 (265.90-270.70E, 1028.00-1023.65N)(west room). These rooms are both located north of Nezi Field, south of the courtyard in the center of the Byzantine House previously excavated by X. Lattimore (NB 229) and X. Berg (NB 229) in the 1960s. Records from more recent excavation in these spaces are available from Dan Leon and Ben Sullivan in 2009, and Anne Feltovich, Emily Rush, and Catherine Person in 2008. The goal in both of these rooms was to reach the 10th century levels and come to a better understanding of the architectural development of the house in its different phases of use; this was accomplished in the east room, and 12th century levels were reached in the west room. The director was Guy Sanders; assistant field director Alicia Carter; and pickman Panos Kakouros.

The following summary documents the findings of session II in the 2009 excavation season in the two rooms in which we excavated. Each room will be initially treated individually and the conclusion will attempt to relate these rooms to each other and the area of the North of Nezi excavations as a whole.

East Room

This room has previously been described as being bounded by wall 5553 to the east and wall 5552 to the north; DL and BS completed the excavation of these walls in session I. Two particular features were our main focus: the floor/surface areas and the north and east walls.

Phasing of walls:
1) wall 5403 bounds the southern side of the room (foundation trench fill 5818, mid-10th)
2) wall 5483 bounds the western side of the room and abuts wall 5403(foundation trench fill 5779 late 10th-11th)
3) wall 5519 caps the northern end of wall 5483 and bonds with it (ca. 10th-11th century).
4) wall 6300/6285/6027 (terminus ante quem 10th century) abuts and does not bond with wall 5403.
5) wall 5631/5671/6245 (ca. 10th-11th century on the basis of stratigraphy)

Our first priority was to remove remaining later walls that had caused disturbance in earlier floor surfaces and walls. After walls 5553 and 5552 (2nd half of the 13th century) had been excavated, there was one section remaining that had been incorporated as part of wall 5552 as well (6181 (2nd half of the 13th century)) and this was one of the earliest structures removed. 6181 had been bonded to a series of foundations and remaining wall segments, including 5965 (2nd half of the 13th), 6172, 6171, 6183, and 6187 (all the rest- ca. 12th century). These wall and foundation segments were laid against wall 6027 (terminus ante quem late 11th-early 12th century) which was left as a martyr by DL and BS to preserve the cut for pier 6065, which truncates the northeast corner of the room. These walls were found to cover even earlier disturbance within the room, in the form of robbing trenches 6227 (fill 6169) and 6226 (fill 6166) which robbed out portions of east-west running wall 6120 and north-south running wall 6027. The robbing trenches also destroyed the relationship between paving stones 6190 and the wall series bounding the room on the eastern side (6027/6285/6300).
Another later feature that disrupted earlier phases was pier foundation 6249. We have labeled this feature as a pier since it is similar to other features within the house that also seem to be piers (i.e. 6359 and 6318 excavated by Scott Gallimore and Will Bruce in the courtyard). When these excavations had been completed, the paving stones (6190) were partially exposed, as well as east-west wall 6120. We were also able to more clearly see a blocked threshold in wall series 6027/6285/6300 (blocking stone 6277 and fill 6278 with threshold 6285). These sections of walls were found to be in contemporary use and formed the length of the eastern boundary of the room (pre- late 10th century on the basis of stratigraphy). The relationship between this section of the wall and the floors uncovered that may be contemporary will be discussed below. Only the un-numbered un-excavated surface revealed by the excavation of context 6292 was found to be contemporary with the use of threshold 6285. The same surface goes beneath paving stones 6190, which project above and partially covered over the threshold platform, and which are slated for removal in the future.

Similarly, in the northern wall sections, there were later series of wall-phases and thresholds disturbing earlier features. AF and CP, in their report, discuss the series of four thresholds being moved gradually westward over time. The earliest thresholds were further to the east than the later thresholds. There is the possibility of a fifth threshold beneath 5671 (the only threshold remaining in-situ; ca. 11th century) which is un-excavated and un-numbered. We removed these thresholds in the following order: 5648 (late 11th- early 12th century), which, although representative of an earlier phase was removed first because it was loose because covering fills had been excavated around it; 5647 (late 11th- early 12th century), the latest phase and top most threshold; 5670 (late 10th/11th century) (with foundation fill 6238 and 6242). The previous belief (by AF, ER, and CP) that 5670 putatively was constructed from robbed out stones from the west of 5648 needs reconsideration given the new information (dating) that we now have. The removal of these thresholds was accompanied by the removal of the western-most wall segment of wall 5631 with foundation course 6233 (late 10th/11th century). After excavation of these contexts, underlying wall 6245 was still in-situ and of similar construction and running on a clean line with wall 5631. Therefore, it is our interpretation that walls 6245, 5671, and an eastern section of 5631 were in contemporary use as the original northernmost boundary of this room (late 10th-11th century). While we were examining wall 5631 we noticed a section that seemed different in construction and clearly laid on the existing section of wall 5631; this section was given its own structure number, 6267 (fill for its foundation trench 6079 dates to late 11th century). The same structure also abuts north-south wall section 6027 to the east, making it later than both walls.

A series of surfaces were excavated to the north and south of wall 5552 which was excavated in session 1 and exposed wall 6120 below it. These surfaces were in contemporary use before being divided by wall 5552 In the interest of observing the contents of each stratum we sampled the contents of each surface for flotation. Our pickman, Panos, realized in 2008 that the nature of the surfaces suggested that they were exterior surfaces, constructed by irregular compacting and patching as opposed to large-scale labor-intensive construction events. AF, ER and CP excavated a series of floors that were contemporary with later threshold constructions (5670, 5648, and 5647). The series of floors that we have excavated are in contemporary use with northern wall sections 5671, 5631 and 6245. The excavation of fills 6140, 6160 and 6152 revealed surfaces 6168 and 6164 (late 11th- early 12th century), in contemporary use. Following this, there was a series of other surfaces including 6211 and 6258 (both late 10th- 11th century) to the north; and 6270 (11th century), and the surface revealed by 6292 (un-numbered and un-excavated) just to the south of 6120. 6270 (overlaid by fill 6256 (11th century)) and 6258 (overlaid by fills 6222 and 6213) were visible in the scarp (visually marked by their whitish colored “Frankish” clay) created by the construction of wall foundation 5552(#???), and are the same surface. Surface 6211 offered support for the idea that this room was part of an outdoor area since the accumulation of pebbles was located directly south of threshold 5671 and could have been indicative of removal of debris from an inside area. The excavation of surface 6258 revealed a number of things about the phasing of the room: first, the foundation trench 6261 for the insertion of threshold 5671 was revealed indicating that the threshold was installed prior to the construction of that surface; second, 6258 was the last surface to be uncovered in association with the northern wall, while, to the south of east-west wall 6120, further surfaces were recovered at a lower elevation, which means that surface 6258 was the first surface associated with the room when it was bounded to the north by wall 5671/5631/6245 and the surfaces south of wall 6120 are in use in the room when it was bounded to the north by wall 6120. This changing and reorganizing of space marks a major phase change in the development of this part of the house. Therefore, threshold 6285 is earlier than threshold 5671.

West Room
Previous excavation in this room was conducted in the 1960s, and also by AF, ER, and CP in 2008.

Phasing of walls (AF, ER, CP):
1) Wall 5484 (ca. mid-tenth), same as wall 5403 to the east and 5216 to the west.
2) Wall 5519 (pre-late 10th-11th century on the basis of stratigraphy). Although 5484 and 5519 have not been related stratigraphically, it is believed that 5484 is the exterior wall and therefore before the interior wall 5519.
3) Wall 5483 (late 10th- 11th century), built against walls 5584 and bonds with 5519. Although no foundation trenches have yet been found in this room, foundation trench 5779 on the east side of wall 5483 is above the foundation trench for wall 5403=5484 (foundation trench 5818).
4) Wall 5490 (3rd quarter of the 12th century), superstructure of wall 5485.

The first objective was to remove walls 5490 and 5485. North-south running wall 5490 was the superstructure above foundation 5485. These walls were not removed in 2008 because permission had not yet been granted. This structure was truncated by one of two large storage pits in the southern half of the room (previously described as a “bothros” in NB 229 page 180ff, “Bothros I”). Structures 5490 and 5485 were the first contexts to be removed because they were the latest features in this area and were preventing the further removal of other fills and surfaces in the room. Another objective was to find the foundation trench for western wall 5284 which was being blocked from excavation by these later walls, as well as by fill 6334 in between walls 5485 and 5284.

Fill accumulated inside the western storage pit was removed, some likely being1960s backfill (context#) as well as a context composed of large boulders that perhaps had tumbled from a nearby wall. The pit continued down and fills 6352 and 6353 (1300 +/- 10) were removed before the base of the cut was found. Field notes from NB 229, pg. 180ff. record that the pit was not fully excavated in the 1960s. The pit cut through a thick layer of reddish colluvium before cutting bedrock. The fact that pit was cut somewhat into the bedrock suggests that it was a storage pit as it was too far into bedrock for asimple rubbish pit, and not far enough through the bedrock to have been a well that reached water.

Similarly, in adjacent storage pit 6380, we reached an unexcavated fill (6372 (2nd quarter of 13th century)) and continued our excavations down into bedrock, revealing a similarly flat-bottomed round storage pit. Remains of wall 6157 and foundation trench 6379 still remain in the south profile of cut 6380 beneath wall 5484. In the north profile of 6380, one can observe the remains of robbing trench 6381. It is clear that the construction of pit 6380 truncated robbing trench 6381 which was used to remove a section of north-south wall 6157 which rested in foundation trench 6379. Neither wall 6157 nor robbing trench 6381 are currently visible on the surface, but we expect to reveal them through excavation this season.

When AF, ER, and CP excavated the surface levels, they left a martyr along walls 5485 and 5519 to preserve stratigraphy and prevent contamination from the material in the walls. We excavated the martyr first which revealed a series of surfaces and sub-surfaces. Two ash pits (6406 and 6407) cutting floor 6411 were uncovered, one of which revealed a built hearth of tiles (structure 6413). A layer of tile and redeposited destruction debris (6415 (12th century)) was also uncovered below floor 6408. A posthole (6432) was uncovered cutting 6428, as well as a possible patching surface against 5519 (fill 6437). Additionally, the foundation trench fill on the south side of wall 5284 was revealed and excavated (cut 6427); the foundation trench for this wall had already been revealed on the north side (foundation trench 5466) in a previous season by Jody Cundy and Nate Andrade. Our foundation trench matched theirs in elevation and composition.

As we excavated these surfaces and sub-surfaces in the martyr we tried to equate our contexts with the contexts previously excavated by AF, ER, and CP on the eastern side of the room. Leveling fill 6415 (12th century) was found to be equal to 5682 on the basis of elevation, composition and inclusions. 6428 (12th century) was equal to 5887, again, on the basis of elevation and composition inclusions. We excavated the entire martyr revealing a continuous floor over the surface of the room, disturbed by the two storage pits and a foundation trench.

East Room Conclusions

In this room, we met our objective of reaching late 10th to early 11th century levels. The excavation in this room seems to be complete, except for paving stones 6190 towards the eastern side, west of threshold 6285, which are yet to be removed. Further consideration may need to be given to threshold 5671 because it seems to be of a later date (ca. 11th century on the basis of stratigraphy) than threshold 6285; we reached this conclusion because the threshold 5671 cut the floor- this is supported by the face that the last of the series of floors was contemporary with 6285 (laid against), while it was earlier than (below) 5671. Additionally, it may be possible that there is yet another threshold underneath 5671; this possibility could be further explored in later seasons.
It seems that this area was likely an outdoor space, on the basis of the hard packed surfaces, the pebbly surface near the threshold (5671), and the accumulation on the floor surfaces. We are unsure of the nature of the surface that is only partially revealed and runs beneath paving stones 6190; but this will be revealed by the next team to excavate in this room.

West Room Conclusions

In this room, we managed to get the levels of the surfaces down to the same level (ca. 12th century) by removing a martyr. This room has now been completely rid of 1960s backfill. The surfaces covering the rest of the room, however, have been left in a good starting point for the next team. The next team should begin their excavation in the southwest corner of the room, continuing to bring the martyr (not associated with the floor surface contexts; a separate martyr) around the storage pit down to the level of the other surfaces. The cleaning of this context was the last thing we completed (cleaning 6436).
This room seems to have, at some point, been used for storage, on the basis of the two storage pits. These storage pits are later than most of the other features of the room, and likely cut a higher surface than the ones preserved. Guy Sanders mentioned that it may be possible that this room was a basement space in its earlier phases; although this conclusion cannot be tested until the room has been excavated further.