The American School of Classical Studies at Athens has published a new guidebook on Corinth. I have reviewed this for Bryn Mawr Classical Review [here].
The authors as well as the ASCSA design team have produced a highly functional guidebook to help lay and professional visitors to engage with the extensive excavated and visible remains. … This will be an invaluable aid to interpret what can be seen on the ground, and will serve as a model for guides to other archaeological sites.
The review gave me an opportunity to reflect on how to write a guidebook for such an extensive site. Roman urban sites in Britain such as Silchester and Caerwent have guides published by (respectively) English Heritage and Cadw.
The dedication of a square next to the theatre at Corinth by an official named Erastus was ‘in return for his aedileship’ (PRO AEDILIT[AT]E). Erastus would appear to be have made an election promise, and the square, edged with the dedicatory inscription, demonstrated that he had kept to his side of the agreement.
There is a small piazza at Corinth adjacent to the theatre. Along the edge are the remains of an inscription, originally with inset bronze lettering. This reveals that this public facility had been provided by Erastus-the full name is unknown due to the loss of part of the inscription-from his own money in return for being elected as aedile in the colony. Erastus had made an election promise, and the inscription showed that he had fulfilled his obligation.
One of my favourite archaeological sites is the ‘Palace of Nestor’ in the western Peloponnese overlooking Pylos. The Bronze Age palace contained a major archive of clay tablets written in Linear B that provide significant insights into the arrangements of Messenia in the Late Bronze Age.
Much of the site is protected by a specially constructed covering.
One of my favourite sites is the Late Bronze ‘Palace of Nestor’ near Pylos in the Peloponnese. I first explored the site with a copy of the guide prepared by Carl W. Blegen and Marion Rawson in my hands: A Guide to the Palace of Nestor (The University of Cincinnati, 1967). There are 32 pages of text with 34 images along with an extremely helpful numbered plan printed inside the back cover. Among the illustrations are (black and white) reconstructions by Piet de Jong (see a review of his work here). The sections are:
a. Foreword. This has the helpful statement: ‘The purpose of this Guide is to help interested visitors to find their way about the Palace of Nestor’. (Writers of guides need to remember this!)
b. History of the excavations.
c. The site.
d. The palace.
f. Main building.
g. Southwestern building.
h. Northeastern building.
i. Wine magazine.
j. Northeastern part of citadel.
k. Tholos tombs.
l. Identification and date of the Palace.
The guide has now been updated with additions by Jack L. Davis and Cynthia W Shelmerdine, A Guide to the Palace of Nestor, Mycenaean Sites in its Environs and the Chora Museum (Princeton NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2001).
The illustrations include some of the colour reconstructions by Piet de Jong. The booklet includes a section ‘Life in Mycenaean Pylos’ based in part on the Linear B tablets. from the palace’s archive. There are helpful plans of the Chora Museum to help visitors around the exhibits.