Lisa Nevett (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
New Fieldwork from Classical Olynthos (Greece): towards an archaeology of identity
Among ancient historians the city of Olynthos is best-known as a regional power from northern Greece which alternately fell under the sway of Athens and of the kingdom of Macedon, before finally being sacked and razed to the ground by the Macedonian king, Philip II, in 348 BCE. To archaeologists, Olynthos represents the single most extensive and detailed source of information about Greek houses, as a result of the excavations there by David Robinson (1928-1938). Since 2014 the site has been the subject of renewed investigation by the Olynthos Project, which has been undertaking field survey, geophysical survey and excavation in and around the city. In this lecture I explore the potential of the evidence from Olynthos for understanding the creation and expression of identity by the city’s inhabitants. I address various ways in which they actively manipulated their material culture at the level of the household, the neighborhood and the city as a whole in order to navigate their complex political and cultural positions.