These are boom times for articles on Corinth. I just completed Jamie Donati's interesting new article in the American Journal of Archaeology: "Marks of State Ownership and the Greek Agora at Corinth" AJA 114 (2010), 3-26. In it, Jamie argues that the evidence for state owned objects (drinking vessels, weights, counting tables, et c.) suggests that the Archaic to Classical agora in Corinth most likely stood below the Hellenistic agora and Roman forum. This runs counter to the prevailing wisdom at Corinth which typically places the earlier agora either north of the city or under the plataea of the modern village.
While I won't go through the detail of Jamie's argument, he suggests that part of the reason why scholars have not seen the evidence for the Greek agora under the Hellenistic and Roman levels is because they assumed that the Archaic and Classical agora of Corinth would be in some way similar to the Classical agora of Athens which was uncovered at approximately the same time as major excavations at Corinth continued. The rivalry between these two major American excavations in Greece, in effect, shaped scholarly assumptions. Jamie argued that Corinth, with rather different civic institutions and forms of government, would not have required the same kinds of buildings at Athens. He then points out that the government of Elis met in rather modest structures which, in fact, stood outside of the proper agora of that city.
Even more interesting (at least to me) is how Jamie's argument for the location of the Greek agora influence how we imagine the motives for the monumental elaboration of the city in the Hellenistic (and later, Roman, periods). In one of my favorite dissertations on Corinth, Betsy Robinson argues that the three famous fountains of the Corinth -- Peirene, Glauke, and the Sacred Spring -- were important "places of memory" for the city during the Roman period and served to link the rebuilt Roman agora with the earlier history of the Corinth as a city of water. If we accept Jamie's identification of pre-Hellenistic agora under the Hellenistic and Roman agora, then this might contribute additional perspective to the way that place informed monumental and civic continuity in the ancient city. Sue Alcock has argued that the Athenian agora became, during the Roman period, a kind of memory theater where monuments of various aspects of the glorious Athenian past jostled for attention in a space largely devoid of any practical function. While the Corinth's Greek agora (accepting for a moment Jamie's argument) may have lacked monumental reminders of the city's past, could the place itself, the topography, the views, or even more modest reminders have served to evoke urban continuity (or even a highly localized mytho-history, in Robinson's terms) that largely functioned well below the level of monumental commemoration.
Such an approach reminds me of work on the mnemonics of landscapes where physically invisible markers could nevertheless evoke memories for individuals and groups historically invested in a place. While we tend to conceive of urbanism as replacing these relatively obscure places of memory with monumental expressions, there is no reason to assume that more subtle mnemonic places could not provide a framework for continuity within an urban environment. This observation, however, goes well beyond what Jamie argued. It will be interesting to see what folks do with this article and whether (or how) it shapes the study of urban Corinth.