For the last couple of months, I’ve been struggling to write a short review essay on Christopher Witmore’s Old Lands: A Chorography of the Eastern Peloponnesus (2020). You can read my series of false starts and halting efforts here and here.
To be clear, it’s not that the book isn’t good or interesting. In fact, the book is entertaining which is something can only rarely be said about academic books.
It’s that the book is sui generis. And, from the perspective of someone who has spent 20-odd years in the northeastern Peloponnesus, it doesn’t really say anything new so much as say things in a new way. For an academic reviewer who is looking to understand the new knowledge that a project has produced, it’s a bit hard to wrap my head around a book that is itself the new thing.
In any event, you can read the draft of my review here, if you want.
Or you can wait for it to come out alongside a couple of undoubtedly more thoughtful and sophisticated reviews in the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology this spring.