Degree Date



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology


This study focuses on the city of Ancient Corinth, an Archaic polis in the northeastern Peloponnese of Greece, and its purpose is to determine if archaeological remains reflect the processes by which the city’s inhabitants constructed and manipulated notions of community, memory, and identity. The Early Iron Age and Archaic period are the focus of this study in order to consider what role the construction of identity played in the formation of the city as a Greek polis. The reconstruction of Archaic Corinthian identity analyzes both material and textual evidence produced by this society. Examples of pottery motifs, architecture, epigraphic evidence, and mythology are examined to determine if the identity of a culturally distinct society is visible to the modern scholar.

The introduction lays out the chronological parameters of the dissertation (ninth through early fifth centuries B.C.) and surveys previous scholarship on cultural and ethnic identity. By addressing the characteristics of an ethnic group, such as a common myth of descent or shared territory, one may search for archaeological expressions of these categories. The examination of the theory of identity provides the basis for this archaeologically-based study, as it establishes the criteria by which the data are evaluated.

Chapters two through five each address a unique body of evidence that provides information on the identification of Corinthian identity in the archaeological record. These forms of evidence are: constructed landscape and architecture; material production; iconographic representations; epigraphic and literary evidence; and cultic institutions. The concluding chapter offers a comprehensive analysis of all the bodies of evidence in relation to one another.

This synthetic approach demonstrates that each category offers different evidence for the construction of civic, religious, and social identity. The conclusions advocate that by the end of the eighth century B.C. the Corinthia had started to become a politically unified society that intentionally distinguished itself from its neighbors, but that after a period of approximately two hundred years, when the rule of the Bacchiad and Kypselid aristocracies ended, Corinth changed in many ways, some of which better fit into a wider notion of ‘panhellenism’ across Greece.


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