Home > Korinthian Matters > Working Paper II: Towers and Fortifications at Vayia in the Southeast Corinthia

Working Paper II: Towers and Fortifications at Vayia in the Southeast Corinthia

This summer, David Pettegrew and I have been revising an article that we submitted last winter to Hesperia.  The article documents three new rural sites in the southeastern Corinthia.  Our initial approach was to submit a rather bare-bones site report that simply made the world aware of these sites.  When we submitted such an article to Hesperia, however, we received some good criticism from our reviewers who required that we make some not-insignificant changes before it would be considered for publication (this is usually called a revise and re-submit, but for Hesperia it's called a conditional acceptance (the condition being, it would seem, that we revise it and resubmit it). 

The most substantial revision stems from the skepticism surrounding our interpretation of the sites.  We argued that our sites were most likely fortifications; our reviewers were not convinced.  This criticism evokes a long-standing controversy in how we understand rural installations.  Traditionally, they were all assigned military functions, by the 1970s, these identifications were coming under scrutiny and many fortifications became fortified rural farmsteads.  Our research began under the assumption that our sites were agricultural installations of some description, and only after we were knee-deep in fieldwork did we revise our thesis to argue more forcefully that the towers at Lychnari and Ano Vayia only make sense as fortifications (or military installations of some description) and, perhaps more importantly, are hardly plausible as farmsteads.  Along these same lines, we provided a more robust set of regional comparanda for our sites

We also beefed up our analysis of the distributional data from the small scale intensive survey conducted at the site of Ano Vayia.  This includes not only a more detailed treatment of our methods, but also a comparison of our material collected at Ano Vayia to the assemblages present at other sites.  The expanded discussion of the assemblage provided a nice complement to our function arguments (not a farmstead) as well as provided a traditional basis for our Late Classical to Hellenistic date.

Finally, we beefed up the historical discussion.  One thing that both reviewers wanted to see was a more substantial description of the historical context for fortifying this area in the Corinthia.  While the sources for the Late Classical and Hellenistic Corinthia remain problematic, we were able to point toward several possible motivations and occasions mostly from the 4th century which was not incompatible with the material present at the site.  I favor our sites being built by either Corinthian or Athenian forces stationed in the countryside in the volatile 360s (Xen. Hell. 7.4.4-5.).  The additional walls at Ano Vayia suggest that the site was modified or repaired at some point.  The small quantity of material present from the site generally and the almost total absence of any significant material from the post-Hellenistic period suggests that the site may have been used intermittently throughout the Hellenistic period in response to the tumultuous politics of the day.

I think that you'll see that the criticism of the peer reviewers and the Hesperia editorial staff has made our paper better and more substantial.  All the lingering problems are the responsibilities of the stubborn authors.

So, in the interest in keeping our public informed, here is the most recent version of our paper:

Towers and Fortifications at Vayia in the Southeast Corinthia
William R. Caraher, University of North Dakota
David K. Pettegrew, Messiah College
© 2009

As the paper says, please do not cite without the authors' permission.

For the first version that we submitted see: Working Paper: Towers and Fortifications at Vayia in the Southeast Corinthia

For more info on our work at these sites see:

New Research on the Corinthian Countryside: Vayia Microregion
The Corinthian Countryside: The Site of Ano Vayia
The Corinthian Countryside: Distributional Data from the Site of Ano Vayia
The Corinthian Countryside: The Lychnari Tower
The Corinthian Countryside: The Passes of the Eastern Corinthia
The Corinthian Countryside: Classical Vayia
The Corinthian Countryside: History and Archaeology
The Corinthian Countryside: Some More Contemporary Thoughts
Three New Sites in the Eastern Corinthia (W. Caraher and D. Pettegrew)
Summer Research on the Fortifications of the Southeastern Corinthia
Viewsheds in the Eastern Corinthia

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Categories: Korinthian Matters
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