Taking Out the Trash: Resilience and Reuse in a Late Roman Urban Space

Author(s): Melissa Morison

Year: 2017


This paper presents analyses of Late Roman pottery from the Gymnasium complex at ancient Corinth, Greece. Ceramic vessels from well-stratified deposits in multiple functional areas of the complex, dating from the late 4th through late 6th centuries CE, provide evidence for patterns of community resilience and adaptive capacity over a period of significant socio-economic change. Analyses of the Gymnasium ceramic assemblage reveal significant shifts in Corinth’s engagement with pan-Mediterranean trade networks, a repurposing of a significant civic complex, and related shifts in attitudes toward trash disposal, ritual, and pollution (both physical and otherwise). These changes in the conception and use of space within and adjacent to the Gymnasium complex, occurring over two centuries—from the "collapse" of the Roman Empire through the subsequent transition to the new structures of the early Medieval ("Late Roman") period—help to expand understanding of the role of large, diverse, multicultural urban centers such as Corinth in mediating regional response to larger-scale processes of cultural transformation.

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Taking Out the Trash: Resilience and Reuse in a Late Roman Urban Space. Melissa Morison. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430255)

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Abstract Id(s): 17543