A Re-examination of Some of the South Stoa Wells at Corinth

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Pottery, Peoples and Places. Study and Interpretations of Late Hellenistic Pottery

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In undertaking the publication of the Hellenistic pottery from Corinth, G. Roger Edwards did for Corinth what Homer Thompson had done for the Athenian Agora. Both scholars studied an unattractive body of material from an unfashionable period and made it accessible to a wider audience. In doing so their chronological framework influenced modern scholarship far beyond the archaeology of Hellenistic Corinth and Athens, indeed to every region receiving mainland Greek ceramic imports or imitating them. As a result, most publications on Hellenistic material culture subsequent to Edwards’ Corinth VII.iii refer to it for stylistic parallels and dates. Even new studies from the Athenian Agora, such as Susan Rotroff’s exemplary work refreshing and adjusting Thompson’s material, unfailingly cite Edwards’ work. To date, certain chronological adjustments notwithstanding, Edwards’ basic schema is still widely accepted and cited.

These revisions were anticipated by Edwards himself who wrote that his chronology of deposits, shapes, and decoration “will... be subjected to scrutiny and further modification." Scrutiny and further modification, however, have been limited by the paucity of new Hellenistic deposits excavated at Corinth since 1970, the year in which Corinth VII.iii was submitted for publication. In the 1973 addendum to his original preface, Edwards acknowledged that excavation had resumed in Building II, north of the South Stoa, and indicated that the construction date of the South Stoa should be revised downwards by a quarter of a century to ca. 300 BC. A later Corinth volume by Elizabeth Pemberton on finds from the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore confirmed that the absolute dates applied by Edwards to certain stylistic sequences should be down-dated by as much as a quarter of a century, but nonetheless accepted the scheme itself. Since then the most significant new contributions have been the identification of a context dating to after the Mummian sack of 146 BC, a close examination of the contents of Hellenistic graves at Corinth and the publication of material from the Rachi settlement at Isthmia.


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