Archeology is a broad discipline that relies on excavation, survey, historical documentation (publication), and aerial photography to discover various activities and cultures of the human past. There are many factors to consider when deciding on the research method to use. Primarily, the site and objective of the study influence the research approach. The budget estimates and timeframe should be considered in deciding how knowledge will be gathered and interpreted. The objective of this report is to defend the use of a geophysical survey in the Isthmus of Corinth which is located in Greece
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Overview of Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is a raised land, built of quaternary sediments and faulted Pliocene, which serves as a bridge from central to southern Greece; it also linked Corinthian Gulf to Italy. Besides, the site is representative of a natural bridge which connects the mainland of Greek and Peloponnese with the Balkans. Given its strategic position, from the eighth century BC, the region thrived economically. However, in 146 BC, the Roman Army destroyed the city of Corinth during regional wars (Stiros, 2020). Consequently, Isthmus lost some of its significance, especially as a transportation center, and in the 400 AD the city was transformed into a byzantine town (Pettegrew, 2016). Furthermore, the regional leaders continued to have conflicts that slowed down the development in the region.
The destruction of Corinth had significant archeological value to the entire region due to the adjustment of activities and physical shape. According to Stiros (2020), the consequential deformation of Isthmus is complicated in that the part connected to Canal a Graben appears to be normal, whereas some section shows a typical horst. In geography a horst is defined as a faulty block which is raised and at the same time surrounded by normal faults. The marine Quaternary sediments in the region are uplifted up to 80m on top of the Isthmus. The geographical configuration has also been affected by instances of earthquakes. To date, the Isthmus remains an interesting tourist attraction and point for archeological studies.
Present State of Archeological Research in the Region
Corinth is regarded as one of the prehistoric great cities due to its strategic location and a rich religious and social culture. Resultantly, many archeological researches have been done in the region by different groups. According to Tartaron et al. (2006), the American Schools of Classical Studies at Athens has excavated the site for more than 100 years. Before writing his book, Stiros (2020) conducted several excavations in the region. The old excavation materials are available for continuous exploration. The Corinthian Matters is an organization with a record of all the past studies conducted in the region. Pictures from aerial photography using drones can be accessed in the archives. Documentations of the studies are accessible through public libraries and Dyabola.
In as much as there are plenty of studies that have been conducted, there is still some valuable information that is missing. According to Stiros (2020), explaining the destruction of the Isthmus is no simple matter. The author made this assertion even after citing past publications, which implies a gap in the literature. Consequently, as a new archeologist in the region, publications will not be the most suitable method, although they can be used to review the immediate needs.
The rationale for selecting geophysical survey is the fact that it is the most suitable for investigating the deformations around the Isthmus. There are different techniques can be applied, including fluxgate gradiometry and electrical sensitivity. Besides, with this survey, Regional Environmental Characterization (REC) is used to create the images of the region, which is then studied to understand the processes that may have influenced the current state. The findings can then be analyzed in light of records to further explain the current deformations in Isthmus. The budget will be higher compared to publications but lower than excavation. The other rationale for selecting this approach is that it will not further interfere with the landscape of the site. The project will also take a shorter time to complete.
Most Important Needs for the Region
First, there is a need to understand the contortions and how they affect the sea level and danger in an earthquake. The assessment is an urgent one and will form the foundation for the other requirements. Another area of focus is conservation, given that the sea level is on the rise. Protecting the biotics in the region is important for both the aesthetic and the ecosystem. Next, the economic reward from the region needs to increase through tourism and trade. The Isthmus remains significant for transportation and surveying the land as it is a raised place. Using new technologies and art, the region can be transformed to attract more people. Besides, establishing an archive library with detailed records of all activities will be necessary for the region so that it can benefit the students and future researchers.
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Best Start-Up Project for the Region and Rationale
The Isthmus is located in the coastal region and connects to landmasses; thus, it is not only a tourist attraction center but also an economic harbor. However, as recorded by Stiros (2020), the Isthmus has undergone several deformations by natural disasters such as earthquakes and also due to ancient war. The sea level has been rising, causing a threat to the submerged ruins, which may collapse and cause much harm if not addressed promptly. Therefore, the reason is to ensure that the current damages do not escalate to difficult levels to address.
Given the background, the best place to start as a foreign archeologist is to identify the contortions below the water. Based on Stiros (2020), the current evidence of “submerged ruins with rather subjective sociological and historical evidence” can be valuable in solving the issues of abandonment (p. 294). The immediate problem is understanding the natural threats for this remarkable site so that they can be managed or rectified to enhances sustainability of the place. The ultimate outcome is value addition to the region, which will lead to increase revenues from the visitors.
The Isthmus of Corinth is one of the few great sites in Greece, which has a rich history in the trade and natural activities of the region. Specifically, the Isthmus joins two land regions, which made it significant for transportation and trade development in the past. However, this historical site has been deformed during past wars and also by earthquakes. For more than 100 years documentation of all excavations for the region have been documented. Besides, archeologists have used methods such as aerial photography in their studies. The available records are, however, subjective and with missing information on the obstructions inside the sea. The use of a geophysical survey is the most important for collecting data that is complementary to existing findings. The method may be relatively expensive, but it consumes less time and will help in solving the current solution. The immediate need is to identify the extent of the damage and rectify it before transforming it into a major tourist attraction site.
Pettegrew, D. (2016). The isthmus of Corinth: Crossroads of the Mediterranean world. University of Michigan Press.
Stiros, S. C. (2020). Coastal subsidence, destruction layers and earthquakes from an underwater archaeological excavation: Kenchreai, eastern harbour of Roman Corinth, Greece. Mediterranean Geoscience Reviews, 2(2), 283- 297. Web.
Tartaron, T. F., Gregory, T. E., Pullen, D. J., Noller, J. S., Rothaus, R. M., Rife, J. L., Tzortzopoulou-Gregory, L., Schon, R., Caraher, W. R., Pettegrew, D. K., & Nakassis, D. (2006). The eastern Korinthia archaeological survey: Integrated methods for a dynamic landscape. Hesperia, 75(4), 453-523. Web.