Corinth Report: Nezi Field 2010 by Cameron Pearson and Lincoln Nemetz Carlson (2010-05-27 to 2010-05-28)
Collection:   Corinth
Type:   Report
Name:   Nezi Field 2010 by Cameron Pearson and Lincoln Nemetz Carlson (2010-05-27 to 2010-05-28)
Title:   2010 Session II Blue Final Report: Well Room (A), Room south of Courtyard (B), and Room South of the Byzantine House ( C )
Area:   Nezi Field
Site:   Corinth
City:   Ancient Corinth
Country:   Greece
Corinth Excavations 2010 Session II
North of Nezi Room A
We, Cameron Pearson and Lincoln Nemetz Carlson, continued the excavation in the area north of Nezi opened by Rob Nichols and Martin Wells in the first excavation session of 2010. During the first week of the second session of the 2010 Corinth excavation season, May 4 – May 7 we excavated primarily in the northwest room of the Byzantine house—the ‘well room’ (6288)—bounded by walls 54, 5631, 6426, 10086, 10081, 10087, 55 and 6333 (E. 273.95-283.00; N. 1026.9-1034.78). Generally, current excavation in this area continues the work carried out during the 1960s by Henry Robinson (director) and William Berg III (supervisor). Our objectives were to continue the work of the previous session and expose the drain structure 6727 in order to see if there was any evidence of a Roman north-south road in the area.
The following is a summary and interpretation of the first part of the second session of excavations. The director was Guy Sanders, the field director was Marty Wells, the pickmen were Thanasis Notis and Panos Stamatis, the shovelman and barrowman Sotiris Raftopoulos, and the dry sieve was operated by Iannis Senis
Late Roman/Early Byzantine (300-801 CE)
These layers are concentrated primarily in the center of the room in and around drain (structure 6827). In the Late Roman period, a sewer drain (structure 6827) was in existence, which has been dated to the late 4rd- 5th c. B.C.E. on pottery (6931, 6939, 6943) found between it and the cut for the drain (6737). It is oriented NW-SE, under the phases of the later Byzantine room and continued under wall 10086 to the east. It is unclear if it continued to the west. It is possible that it connected to the north-south drain associated with the Roman road east of room. The drain consisted of a combination of building materials: worked fieldstones, marble pavers and a collection of weathered and/or badly carved architectural members: two geison blocks, three half-columns cut lengthwise, and two unfluted (so far as is visible) cylindrical blocks, one with an offset empolium. At some point the drain went out of use, and an extensive fill of re-deposited 8th c. material (6788) was deposited over it, followed by subsequent Middle Byzantine activity 6686 and 6682 in later periods.
Excavation west of the built part of the sewer revealed that there were no more covering slabs despite the walls of the drain curving southwest. The cylindrical rough-hewn block (not a column) with the offset empolium to the south was fully uncovered along with a badly carved half column and some worked fieldstones to the north. They all lined the drain. It is unclear whether this part of the drain was ever covered or if it was robbed out at some point. One of the half columns was revealed lying near the bottom of the drain (cf.6867).
Based on the contexts (6931, 6939, 6943), between the drain (6827) and the cut (6737) the date of the drain’s construction is 4th-5th c. AD. It is unclear which roads or other drains it was connected to but it is likely linked with the unexcavated sewer next to the Roman road just above it to the east. It then goes out of use in the middle 6th -7th c. The top layer (6856) of the small mound that formed the western end of where the covering slabs had lain over the drain dates to the 7th c. but it could have fallen in from above as the slabs were not sealed by any means (the drain continued to the west but with no covering slabs). The rest of the fill (6854, 6860, 6861), which was clearly from the wash inside the covered portion of dates to the middle of the 6th c.
One explanation for the different layers and types of soil inside the area where the drain was covered is that it was plugged up some time in the 7th c. The small mound toward the west of the covered area would have been created by the blocking. The half column found during the removal of the bottom fill (6867) for the drain (6827) could have served this purpose. The covering slabs to the west and any evidence of the dark silt (6854, 6861) not found outside of where the drain was covered (6832) would have been removed during this stopping up operation. The problem with this explanation is that there is no clear evidence that the soil (6867) at the bottom of the covered eastern section of the drain is earlier than the fill that hypothetically would have been used to fill up the western part (6832). Furthermore, in order for the stopping up theory to be validated, there would have be a good explanation as to why a century or two after its construction such trouble would be taken to plug it up.
A second idea is that the drain simply went out of use. However, this explanation has to account for why the soil in the covered portion of the drain contained layers of dark silt and wetter soil (6854, 6860, 6861), which were not found outside to the west (6832). If it clogged up on its own there should be traces of this silt to the west as well. It is possible that the silt was removed while the covering slabs to the west were robbed out, perhaps in connection with the building of wall 6421 or its repair.
A third solution would have the drain simply never containing covering slabs to the west. James Herbst has suggested that there would have been a need for such drains to funnel out water before it flooded the forum to the south but it is doubtful that the drain would have been able to function without covering slabs.
Of important note is that during a cleanup defining the edge of one of the Frankish piers (6841), a piece of Roman sculpture, most likely from a relief, was found. It consists of the right side of the face (S 2010).
We have dated the drains (6827) construction (4th-5th c.) and the end of its use (7th c.) Notably, we did not find evidence for a Roman north-south road in or around the drain. It remains to be explained why the drain was built at such a late date. It if is associated with the road’s construction to the east it should be early (ca. 1st c.). For a clearer picture of why and for what purpose the drain was built at this time, comparanda from other Roman drains in Corinth will need to be studied.

Corinth Excavations 2010 Room B
North of Nezi
We, Cameron Pearson and Lincoln Nemetz Carlson, continued the excavation in the area north of Nezi opened by Sarah Lima, Mark Hammond, and Kiersten Spongberg in session II 2009.
During the second week of the second session of the 2010 Corinth excavation season, May 10 – May 19 we excavated primarily in what we are calling Room B (the second room we dug this session which was called the East Room by the previous excavators) south of the courtyard in the Byzantine house— Bounded by walls 5403 to the south, 6300, 6027, (threshold) 6285 to the east, 5483 to the west, and to the north 6267, (threshold) 5671, and (foundation) 6245. Our objectives were to continue the work of the previous session and to search for any trace of a North-South Roman road.
The following is a summary and interpretation of the second part of the second session of excavations. The director was Guy Sanders, the field director was Marty Wells, the pickmen were Thanasis Notis and Panos Stamatis, the shovelman and barrowman Sotiris Raftopoulos, and the dry sieve was operated by Iannis Senis.
Hellenistic 3rd Century
A series of ash pits were found in the southwest (6901, 6906, 6917) and one in the north (6924). All of these dated to the Hellenistic period with one late Roman contaminant in 6906 and three in 6926. Despite the contaminants, which probably entered these ash contexts because we mistakenly dug them before later contexts or due to overdigging, it seems most likely that in the Hellenistic period the whole area covered by Room B was an ash dump for some sort of industry.
Late Roman 3rd C.
A large cut, as of yet undated, appears to run east-west through the center of the room. It could have been for a Roman wall along the south side of the east-west road. There is evidence for this cut in the rooms to the east and west of Room B. A small wall bit, most likely a foundation, (6968) might be what is left of the robbing out of this Roman east-west wall. The pottery on top of this wall bit (6968) dates to the 3rd c. AD (6966). Another possible small foundation for a wall (6937) runs north-south under wall 5403. The relationship between these two hypothetical wall foundations is unclear as they have not been excavated. We are also unsure if the tile dump 6916 is a structure at all (whether a furnace or another wall foundation?). However, we can postulate that sometime from the 6th-8th c., the Roman wall was robbed out and filled with deposits 6967, and possibly 6982 and 6888 as well. Another problem left for future excavation is the relationship if any of wall 6933 to wall 6120. We had originally thought that wall 6120 was associated with paving stones 6190, which reached the wall. But since the Hellenistic ash is visible just below wall 6120 it is possible that this wall is earlier than the paving stones which are associated with threshold 5285 to the east, which the previous excavators had concluded was earlier than threshold 6261 on the north side of the room but has no precise date.
In Room B we hypothesize that a Hellenistic ash layer was probably cut for a wall of an east-west Roman road. We exposed the cut which should be explored by the next team. They should begin at the north west of the cut and try to decide what the relationship is between the cut and walls 6968 and 6933. We could not see evidence for the cut continuing on the area just east of wall 6933. There was a clear greenish layer passing form the western to the northern scarp of 6967, implying that the cut does not continue between walls 6933 and 6968. However, the paving stones at the bottom of fill 6967 appear to end at the northern edge of the cut, indicating that it does indeed continue along the lines of wall 6968 to the west. Other questions to answer are what is 6915. Is it a structure of a dump? Also it could be that wall foundations 6937 and 6968 formed a corner where the north south road met. What is their relationship?
Room C

In the third week of Session II, we turned out attention to the room directly to the South of Room B, referred to here as “Room C.” Room C was last investigated by Anne Feltovich, Catherine Persona and Emily Rush during the 2008 season. Room C, referred to as Room E by Feltovich, Person and Rush during the 2008 excavation, is bounded by walls 5403 to the north (formerly W 32), Wall 5435 to the west (formerly W 22), Wall 5435 to the South (formerly W 23) and 5346 to the east.
We were interested in looking into the relationship between the Room B and Room C, which appeared to be terraced above Room B, and for looking of signs of the N-S Roman road that may have ran through both rooms.
During the 2008 session, the previous excavators established that the wall dividing the room, Wall 5446, was the first wall in the room and the other walls in the room were built in this order.

a) Wall 5446
b) Wall 5403
c) Wall 5435
d) Wall 5434
e) Wall 5346.
Early on in the excavation, we discovered a wall (Wall 7001) running parallel with 5446 to the west of 5446. Wall 7001 also seems to have been cut by the foundation trench for wall 5403 and thus is one of the earliest features of the room. At this time, however, it is hard to say whether wall 7001 predates, postdates or is contemporary with wall 5446. Two overlying early Roman Contexts (6997 and 7003) deposited between Walls 7001 and 6997 would seem to indicate that both walls predate the 2nd century AD. Walls 7001 and 5446 also seem to be aligned with Structure 6916 (the furnace or tile dump) and Wall 6937 in Room B, but this might be coincidental. Further investigation of Structure 6916 is recommended in order to establish its relationship, if any, to Wall 7001.

It seems that during the late 1st/early 2nd century AD, the area between Walls 7001 and 5446 and the area to the east of Wall 5446 (between 5446 and wall 5346) were filled with leveling deposits (6997/7031 and 7010/7021) which brought the surface of the room to the current extant height of the two walls (7001 and 5446). At the present time, however, we do not have enough information to understand the intentions behind this action.

In the late 3rd/early 4th century AD, a pit (Cut 7020) was cut into the 1st/early 2nd century deposit (7010/7021) up against and to the east of Wall 5446 and a large amount of charcoal and ash was deposited (Deposit 7019). The top of this pit of charcoal was cut by the construction of another pit above it during the 6th century AD (Cut 5380). Fill to the west of wall 5435 (7003) dates to the same period (3rd/early 4th century AD) as the charcoal and ash deposit, though it is unclear if the two deposits are related.

Excavations and cleaning also revealed a partial Greek inscription on the southern face of a block in Wall 5446. Although we were able to make out and transcribe a couple of letters (as documented on Structure 5446 Context Sheet), the fragmentary nature of the inscription inhibits any further conclusions as to the nature of the writing.