In June, Joseph L. Rife’s book, Isthmia IX: The Roman and Byzantine Graves and Human Remains was published by the American School of Classical Studies. The study examines the evidence for funerary rituals and skeletal biology at the site of one of the four Panhellenic sanctuaries in Greece. After the collapse of buildings associated with the cult of Poseidon and the sacred competitions of the Isthmian festival, a major fortress and curtain wall was erected in the early 5th century CE, and a rural community survived until around the 8th century. The graves and the human bones and teeth found at the site shed important new light on society and religion in the Greek countryside during the transition from classical antiquity to the Byzantine middle ages. The book is also noteworthy for its interdisciplinary scope, including full examination of the relevant archaeological, literary, epigraphical, and osteological materials.
The American School has posted an interview of Prof. Rife about the recent publication.