KENCHREAI - 2011
Type of Operation
Kenchreai. J.L. Rife (Vanderbilt) reports on the study of finds and records from the Kenchreai excavations of 1962-1969 and the Kenchreai Cemetery Project (2002-2006).
Re-examination of the standing architecture at the base of the north mole of the ancient harbour (uncovered in 1963-1966) produced observations on the forms and technique of brick and rubble masonry, and the architectural phases and functions of rooms particularly in the complex to the northeast (the ‘brick building’). The building’s construction in its main Early to Middle Roman phases (late first to fourth century) is typical of contemporary buildings at both the Isthmian sanctuary and Corinth. The building was terraced up from the surface level of the now submerged quay wall and promenade: many of the rooms close to the sea had hydraulic facilities indicating a small bath. There is no architectural evidence to support the previous identification of the large hall at the north end of the ‘brick building’ as a meeting room or cult-space for the worship of Aphrodite (atrium Veneris). The shallow steps and bases affixed to the base of the walls could not have served effectively as seats, but are better interpreted as part of an undulating screen or colonnade, or as installations for shelves. A room of this size might have been an aula or library in a prominent seaside villa or public facility. While the basic chronology proposed by the excavators is confirmed (Kenchreai I, p. 87), the building’s latest ancient phase (fifth-sixth century AD) represents a radical departure from the area’s earlier use. It involved the extensive reworking of existing structures that had been massively damaged, presumably by earthquake, and the plundering of much building stone and masonry from the entire area.
Study of burials focused on finds from rescue excavations in 1976 on the Athanasopoulou property west of the ancient harbour, where a cemetery of built and simple cist graves dates to the Middle and Late Roman periods (third-sixth centuries AD).
Unpublished report, ASCSA.
Date of creation