Corinth Report: Nezi Field 2010 by Johanna Best (2010-05-31 to 2010-06-18)
Collection:   Corinth
Type:   Report
Name:   Nezi Field 2010 by Johanna Best (2010-05-31 to 2010-06-18)
Title:   Yellow Session Three Final Report
Context:   Nezi Field, context 7084
    Nezi Field, context 7154
    Nezi Field, context 7152
    Nezi Field, context 7061
    Nezi Field, context 7281
    Nezi Field, context 7169
    Nezi Field, context 7232
    Nezi Field, context 7175
    Nezi Field, context 7082
    Nezi Field, context 7204
    Nezi Field, context 7261
    Nezi Field, context 7280
    Nezi Field, context 7094
    Nezi Field, context 7222
    Nezi Field, context 7059
    Nezi Field, context 7257
    Nezi Field, context 7081
    Nezi Field, context 7235
    Nezi Field, context 7148
    Nezi Field, context 7153
    Nezi Field, context 7271
    Nezi Field, context 7216
    Nezi Field, context 7170
    Nezi Field, context 7151
    Nezi Field, context 7125
    Nezi Field, context 7045
    Nezi Field, context 10115
    Nezi Field, context 7120
    Nezi Field, context 7123
    Nezi Field, context 7072
    Nezi Field, context 7193
    Nezi Field, context 7150
    Nezi Field, context 7052
    Nezi Field, context 7138
    Nezi Field, context 7242
    Nezi Field, context 7088
    Nezi Field, context 7036
    Nezi Field, context 7203
    Nezi Field, context 7161
    Nezi Field, context 7302
    Nezi Field, context 7160
    Nezi Field, context 7165
    Nezi Field, context 7067
    Nezi Field, context 7041
    Nezi Field, context 7159
    Nezi Field, context 7171
    Nezi Field, context 7263
    Nezi Field, context 7060
    Nezi Field, context 7128
    Nezi Field, context 7124
    Nezi Field, context 7296
    Nezi Field, context 7056
    Nezi Field, context 7037
    Nezi Field, context 7190
    Nezi Field, context 7086
    Nezi Field, context 7035
    Nezi Field, context 7077
    Nezi Field, context 7253
    Nezi Field, context 7227
    Nezi Field, context 7122
    Nezi Field, context 7196
    Nezi Field, context 7034
    Nezi Field, context 7087
    Nezi Field, context 7156
    Nezi Field, context 7292
    Nezi Field, context 7044
    Nezi Field, context 7264
    Nezi Field, context 7085
    Nezi Field, context 7256
    Nezi Field, context 7230
    Nezi Field, context 7116
    Nezi Field, context 7176
    Nezi Field, context 7063
    Nezi Field, context 7186
    Nezi Field, context 7048
    Nezi Field, context 7074
Area:   Nezi Field
Site:   Corinth
City:   Ancient Corinth
Country:   Greece
References:   Baskets (76)
Yellow Third Session Report (Johanna Best)

North of Nezi


The following summarizes the results of excavation in the area directly north of the Byzantine House excavated in 1961, in the space bounded by north-south wall 5677 on the west (261.83E), east-west wall 5562 on the south (1040.23N), and north-south wall 5431 on the east (276.78E). The northern boundary of the area under investigation is delineated by the scarp of the excavations and backfill from the excavations in the area to the south of the South Stoa by Oscar Broneer in the 1930s, and the subsequent excavations in the 1960s. In the 2008 excavations, the northern boundary seems to have been placed at approximately 1044.50N, though the excavation team continued excavation up to 1045.70N. The 2008 team acknowledged that the stratigraphy in this area was often difficult to understand, and so a primary goal of this season was to determine the true northern edge of the trench.

The excavation of this area was supervised by Dr. G.D.R. Sanders (director) and Scott Gallimore (field supervisor). The yellow team consisted of Panos Kakouros (pick man), Vassilis Kollias (wheelbarrow man), and Agamemnon Karvouniaris (sieve man). Johanna Best was the recorder for the third session, from 31 May – 18 June, 2010. This area was excavated in the second session of 2010 by Johanna Best and Kelcy Sagstetter, and in the first session of 2010 by Jessica Paga. This area was excavated in 2008 by Thanos Webb, Amit Shilo, Christina Kolb, and Sarah Lima.

Our primary objectives in excavating this area include defining the relationship of this area to the Byzantine House to the south, clarifying the possible connections and relationships between this trench and the area south of the South Stoa, and understanding what was backfill from previous excavations in the 1930s and 1960s and what were unexcavated strata. The excavations of session 1, 2010 have led us to believe that this area was primarily an exterior space during parts of the Middle and Late Byzantine periods. The many large pits, ashy layers in the middle and eastern end of the trench, and the possible external floor surfaces caused us to hypothesize that this may have been an industrial area, a theory that I hoped to test in this third session. The work in session 3 has concentrated on the central and eastern sections of the trench; this session, the western limit has been defined by robbing trench 5802, the northern boundary is the scarp created in the 1930s, the eastern boundary is wall 5431, and the southern boundary is wall 5562/7040. The western section of the trench remains at the level of excavation achieved at the end of session 1, as excavation there would require the removal of the 10-11th century marble tile floor (5710).

In each area of the trench, I will briefly summarize the results of the previous sessions of 2010, as well as presenting the results of session 3.

Western section:

The western section is the area bounded by wall 5677 on the west, wall 5562 on the south, robbing trench 5802 on the east, and the northern scarp.

In session 1, Jessica Paga hypothesized that a 10th century concrete subfloor and marble tile floor (5710) was laid alongside wall 5677. The function of this floor and its possible relationship to the Byzantine House to the south are yet unknown. Following the abandonment of the marble floor’s use phase, several layers of fill accumulated across the surface. Paga believed that this fill may represent a possible period of abandonment or disuse during the end of the Middle Byzantine and early Late Byzantine period. At some point in the 11th – 12th century, this fill was overlaid with an external floor surface (6696 and 6698), which was subsequently cut in the 12th century by a built pithos (5504) and a bothros (5629). At the end of the 12th century, a robbing trench (5802/7204) also cut the external floor surface (and possibly the marble tile floor). In the 3rd ¼ of the 13th century, a Frankish rubble wall (5678) was installed, cutting both the external floor surface as well as the earlier marble floor.

In session 2, excavation did not take place in this area, but we hypothesized that the western and central sections of the trench (at least the area west of 269E and east of wall 5677) may have been united as one external floor surface in the mid-11th century. As noted above, this large external floor surface (made up of 6912, 6696 and 6698) was cut in the 12th century by a bothros (5629) and a built pithos (5504) in the western section, and pit 6840/6891 in the central section.

No further excavations took place in the western section in session 3.

Central section:

The central section of this trench is delineated by robbing trench 5802/7204 to the west, the scarp to the north, walls 6789 and 6987 to the south, and wall 5562/7040 to the south.

In session 1, Paga noted that wall 6821 was surrounded by various 11th century deposits, including an ash deposit (6814), potentially related to the ash deposits further to the east. As noted in the section above, the large external floor surface was cut in the 12th century by pits 6840 and 6891 and Frankish pit 5758. The connection between these areas and the Byzantine House to the south was unclear, as the Byzantine House at this point was covered and filled with backfill. She did note general evidence of industrial activity in the section, which became even more apparent in session 2.

In session 2, we were interested in exploring the industrial activity in this central section. A pit filled with ash (6929) was revealed to the east of pit 6840 and north of wall 6821. The fill of this pit dates from the 11th century, and includes a large circular stone block, believed to be a portion of a column drum. The working hypothesis for the construction of the pit is as follows: pit 6929 was dug and filled in with layers of ash and dirt around a large stone in the 11th century. At some point in the late 11th century, wall 6821 was constructed to the south of this pit and also a tile stack (7017) was built adjacent to it, upon which burning activities took place. It is possible that 7017 is only a portion of a larger tile stack, which extended from the north end of wall 6821 to the edge of the pit. We speculate that the ash in the pit came from this source, and that when the robbing of 6821 (robbing trench 6927) took place, the majority of this tile structure was also removed. To the north of the pit, structure 7125 (possibly a continuation of wall 6821 to the north) had been both built and robbed out in the 11th century by robbing trench 7122.

In session 3, a clearly stratified sequence of soils has clarified some of the questions about dating for the central portion of the trench . A roof tile collapse (7094/7193), located between walls 6821 and 6789, sealed a floor surface that originally extended continuously between walls 7138, 6789, 7150, and 6821 and was leveled upon the laying down of fills 7281 and 7296. The presence of large fragments of roof tile, many of them joining, suggests that the surface was at least partially covered by a shed roof in this area. The pottery of the collapse dates to 11th century. Between the collapse and the floor were found three coins, one of which dates to the reign of Romanus I (931-944 AD). The continuous floor surface (7196), which dates to the late 11th century, had built upon it walls 6789, 6987, 6821 and 7125, (giving them all a terminus post quem of the late 11th century). When the latter two walls were robbed out in the late 11th century, robbing trenches disturbed this continuous floor (robbing trenches 6927 and 7122 respectively). The presence of the roof tile collapse suggests a change in function of this space at the end of 11th century to an interior space, at least in this central area. The presence of collapse also supports Paga’s theory that there was some form of abandonment in the 11th century.

Excavation of the area just north of wall 5562/7040 has revealed an earlier iteration of this wall, 7150. This wall, which must date to the 11th century or later, is abutted by 6821, and was – in part – covered by structure 6820. The function of 6820 remains unknown, but it may have been used as a small storage area or bin. Another wall, 7138 was revealed just to the north of pit 6840. This wall had been robbed out by robbing trench 7153 sometime in or before the late 11th century. It is unclear how far wall 7138 continued to the south, as it seems to have been truncated by pit 6840. Interestingly, there seems to be another large unified surface (7216/7190) in the 11th century in the area between 270E and robbing trench 5802/7204. Perhaps this served as an external floor surface, constructed at the same time the internal surface to the east (7196). This external surface was cut by the robbing trench for wall 7138 (cut 7153).

The working hypothesis for this section is that in the late 11th century, a series of leveling fills (7281, 7296 and perhaps also 7222, 7227, and 7230) created a level surface for internal floor 7196 and external surface 7216/7190. A series of walls were constructed at this time, including 7150, 6821, 6789, 6987, 7138, and 7125. Later 7176 cut the external floor structure, and the floor surface suffered the collapse of its tile roof.

As mentioned above, excavations in this area have had difficulty understanding the nature of the northern baulk. Cleaning context 7235 was excavated to make the edge more clear; we have defined the area where the earlier excavations took place, and other areas further to the south where we believe contamination to be likely.

Eastern section:

The eastern section of this trench is delineated by walls 6789 and 6987 to the west, the scarp to the north, wall 7040 to the south, and wall 5431 to the east.

In session 1, Paga dismantled Frankish wall 5430, which was built on top of wall 5431. Although there was clear use of the area in the Frankish period, the precise function in this period is unknown. Prior to the Frankish occupation of this section, Paga discovered several periods of Middle and Late Byzantine use, as represented by several deposits of fill on top of an ashy layer of soil (6747). This 12th century ashy layer covered, and thereby post-dates, three walls: wall 6764, wall 6765, and wall 6775 (the latter two of which were removed in session 3). Paga also uncovered feature 6807, an arrangement of tiles, set horizontally into a bed of yellow clay, all of which was covered by an accumulation of nearly pure ash, which she interpreted as a Byzantine hearth or an area for industrial dumping. Paga also dug a 12th century rectangular pit (6760), created by the intersections of walls 5431, 6764, 6765, and 6775. Within the loose and soft fill (6759, 6770), Paga discovered several cook pots, one 12th century white ware plain bowl, and large quantities of bone (including part of a human skull). She thought that it is possible that the area was a disposal pit, and that walls 6765 and 6775 were built specifically to create this pit.

In session 2, we removed structure 6807 and found several layers of ash fill underneath. Although we saw signs of burning in fill 6942 under the tile structure 6807, the quantity of ash in this area is probably best explained through dumping activity. The source of the production of this much ash is yet unknown, but we speculate that there may have been industrial activity in the Byzantine House or in the area of the South Stoa (where a probable kiln site has been discovered). Several contexts to the south of this structure were full of soft soil with more inclusions (bone, tile, and ceramics), and large stones, which probably indicates 11th century dump fill. We were not able to dig the entirety of several contexts because they went too deep, and so were saved for excavation in session 3. We hypothesized that the area between walls 6789, 6764, and 5431 was filled with dumping or leveling fills in the 11th century. Wall 6765 must have been both built and partially robbed in the 12th century as it rests on fills 6962 and 5759 (dated late 11th century and mid-12th centuries respectively) and under fill 6747, which was dated to the 12th century. We speculated that selective robbing on the northeast and southwest portions of 6747 was the cause for the creation of what appears to be an S-shaped wall.

Session 3 excavations in this section began with the demolition of wall 6765 (late 11th century). Upon excavation we revealed another structure underneath this (7280), which we believe to be the earlier iteration of wall 6765, which seemed to separate the fills 6962 and 5759, disproving the theory from the previous session that the fill was the same. Following this, excavation of earlier uncompleted contexts 6770, 6977 and 6962 were completed in contexts 7253, 7257, and 7261 respectively. Demolition of wall 6775 and further exploration of 7280 continued. A positive reconstruction of activity in this area suggests that wall 7280 was built, and then robbed out partially in robbing trench 7264. Following this, the rectangular bin (cut 7256) was dug out and filled in with 7253. Wall 6765 was built atop of wall 7280, and wall 6775 was built perpendicular to wall 6765 along the north edge of the bin, which continued to be filled in with context 7253. This area then became an area for dumping ash and other materials from some form of industry nearby, as hypothesized above.


In conclusion, the Middle and Late Byzantine period in this area is primarily identifiable by means of the various 11th century floor surfaces (both internal and external), the number of pits dug in the area, and the evidence of industrial activity. The area’s small spaces, the presence of ashy deposits, and external floor surfaces suggest an industrial use. Although there is not any direct access between this area and the Byzantine House in this period, it is clear that both spaces were actively in use at the same time, possibly by a single group of inhabitants.

Suggestions for further excavation:

1) Excavation of the marble tile floor (5710) and further excavation of built pithos 5504 could provide evidence of activity in the western part of the trench.
2) Removal of structure 7820 might allow a better understanding of this western section, and also the nature of this structure.
3) Excavation of the entire area down to the late Roman/early Byzantine transition to provide unity with other areas of excavation in the Byzantine House and to see if this area was also abandoned in the 6th or 7th century AD.