Spolia in Fortifications and the Common Builder in Late Antiquity


Through intensive surveys of three fortifications in late Roman Greece, Frey reveals the untapped potential of spolia in demonstrating the critical role played by non-elites in bringing about the architectural and social changes that mark the end of classical antiquity.

As his analysis demonstrates, when studied less as displaced objects to be classified by type and more as evidence for the construction process itself, spolia offer a unique opportunity to examine the ways in which common builders met the challenge of using pre-existing building
materials to meet their contemporary architectural needs. This “bottom-up” approach offers an alternative to the traditional view that attributes change and innovation only to the genius of prominent individuals known to us in historical sources.

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Jon M. Frey, Ph.D. (2006), is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University. His research focuses on the architectural history of classical and post-classical Greece and the use of digital technologies in classical archaeology.
''In total, this book presents evidence for different practices for and concerns about spolia in late antiquity in a compelling way. Its aspiration to pull the ‘common builder’ from the proverbial mists of time is laudable (...) Overall, Spolia in fortifications and the common builder in late antiquity is a welcome addition to an ever-growing field—and one that crucially works to identify and explore a new method for understanding reuse.'' - Douglas Underwood, in: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018.03.05
"F. hat eine gute Doktorarbeit geschrieben, der Forschungsansatz ist überzeugend, die Vorgehensweise kann auf viele Denkmäler mit Spolienverwendung ausgedehnt werden, Indices am Ende (‘names and subjects’) erleichtern die Benutzung." - Thomas G. Schattner, in: Gnomon 91 (2019) 5
List of Figures

1 Introduction
2 Themes
3 Reuse as Repair: The “Inscription Wall” at Aegina
4 Reuse as Reinterpretation: Section r at Sparta
5 Reuse as Rejection: The Fortress at Isthmia
6 Spoliation as Process, Military Strategy, and Democratization

Works Cited
Index of Names and Subjects
Anyone interested in spolia studies, fortifications, the ancient building process and the architectural and social history of late antiquity.
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