, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 215-229

Regional Survey and the Boom-and-bust Countryside: Re-reading the Archaeological Evidence for Episodic Abandonment in the Late Roman Corinthia

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Abstract

This paper reexamines the archaeological evidence for three episodes of rural abandonment and resettlement in the countrysides of Late Roman Greece (200–700 CE): an abandoned Late Hellenistic-Early Roman countryside (second century BCE to third century CE), a decline in the third to early fourth centuries CE, and the Dark Age beginning in the seventh century CE. The first and third episodes of abandonment, especially, have sharply defined Late Antiquity (250–700 CE) as a healthy period of new rural settlement and economic resurgence, and the entire pattern has been described in the terms of “boom-and-bust” demographic and economic cycles. Closer readings of the archaeological data can contribute to more sensitive pictures of continuity and change in settlement and connectivity in the late antique Corinthian countryside and other regions in Greece.