Since 1988 a research team from the Mediterranean Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania has been involved in making a computerized architectural and topographical survey of the Roman colony of Corinth. Known as the Corinth Computer Project, the fieldwork has been carried out under the auspices of the Corinth Excavations of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Dr. Charles K. Williams II, Director.
Although the excavations at Corinth by the American School have been underway for more than a century, aspects of the study of the layout of the Roman colony have remained incomplete due to the size and complexity of the site as well as its complicated history. A great deal of information about the Roman city, as well as many accurate plans, existed before the work of the Corinth Computer Project began. The original objectives were to study the nature of the city planning process during the Roman period at Corinth; to gain a more precise idea of the order of accuracy of the Roman surveyor; and to create a highly accurate computer generated map of the ancient city whereby one could discriminate between and study the successive chronological phases of the city’s development.
It is important to acknowledge that during the course of the more than twenty years of the project to date, the nature of the research has evolved from a fairly straightforward consideration of the location and orientation of the excavated roadways of the Roman colony, to a more complex topographical and architectural consideration of various elements of the colony, including the rural as well as the urban aspects of planning and settlement. The project now utilizes a number of methodologies, simultaneously, in the overall study of the ancient city. One aspect of the project is a regional landscape study of a portion of the Corinthia, with the city of Roman Corinth as the focus. Another aspect of the project is the effort to include information from the city of Corinth from chronological periods other than Roman, specifically Archaic and Classical Greek, Hellenistic, Late Roman, Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, seventeenth through twentieth centuries. By means of low level and high altitude air photography, as well as satellite images and some balloon photographs, the limits of the project have been greatly expanded into areas that had not been considered in the original research design. A brief history of the Corinth Computer Project is included to further illustrate the evolution of research and laboratory techniques. In the fall of 1998 and again in fall of 2001 a graduate level seminar, City and Landscape of Roman Corinth, was taught by me at the University of Pennsylvania. Students were assigned individual buildings and structures of the forum as their research projects. During the spring of 2006 a separate undergraduate and graduate course, Corinth Computer Project, was taught, in which the methods and techniques of the research project were presented together with some of the results of the work.
Currently, the main thrust of the project is toward the final publication of the project as a volume in the Corinth Excavations series and presentation of the results of the work on the current website.
It is important to recognize that since the project began in 1988, there have been more than 150 undergraduate and graduate students (mostly from the University of Pennsylvania) that have taken part in the work of the Corinth Computer Project. Some have worked in the lab in the Mediterranean Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia and others in the field at Corinth, and some in both locations. All of these individuals have made important contributions to the success of the work as a whole and, for their interest, their time and commitment, I am most grateful.
December 3, 2011