Saturday, 28 February 2009

Herculaneum street hawkers again, really

You MUST read this. It beggars belief ... I am unable to comment further without extreme editorialising and I wouldn't like to be sued! But someone should tell this guy that Mussolini was all for moving street traders away from archaeological sites!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Nancy Pelosi visita gli Scavi di Ercolano

And back to the subject of famous visitors to the excavations (which by now you should realise fascinates me!), last Thursday (21st Feb 2009) the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, visited Herculaneum. Her entourage wasn't as big as Pius IX's, and excavations weren't staged for her entertainment, but she was accompanied by Gaetano Daniele (the mayor), Maria Paola Guidobaldi (the director of the excavations) and Andrew Wallace Hadrill (who needs no introduction!). You can watch the visit on UTube.

Comune vs Street Hawkers, again

Yesterday the owners of the stalls in Via Alveo - the entrance to the excavations at Herculaneum - were told to suspend their activities. This morning they are shut. But they're not moving, even though they've been told to shift their stalls into the adjacent parking area.

The mayor of Ercolano claims that the move is designed to ensure the safety of visitors, but the stall owners see it as a political move, an attempt to drive them out to make way for other activities. You can read the full story here.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Libro: L'archeologia magica di Maiuri - Giuseppe Maggi

Maggi's book on Maiuri's "magical archaeology" has been out of print for many years, so the fact that it has just been re-issued may be of interest to many - it can be easily purchased on the internet from Italian online bookshops.
I copy and paste here below the text that was distributed for the book presentation:

Nell'archeologia del Novecento Amedeo Maiuri rappresenta un caso singolare. Laureatosi a Roma in filologia bizantina, approda all'archeologia quasi per caso. Vive a Creta al fianco di un grande maestro di epigrafia e antichità greche, Federico Halbherr, che gli apre i vasti orizzonti dell'antica cultura mediterranea. Quando, conclusa la guerra italo-turca, a livello ministeriale si avvertì il bisogno di istituire a Rodi una Missione archeologica con competenza sulle isole del Dodecaneso diventate italiane, Halbherr segnalò il nome di Maiuri. Operò quindi nell'area egea compiendovi interessanti scoperte, stroncando il traffico clandestino di oggetti archeologici, istituendo a Rodi un Museo ricco di oggetti non riguardanti solo l'archeologia.
Quando nel 1924 il fascismo esautorò al vertice della Soprintendenza di Napoli Vittorio Spinazzola, liberale legato a Nitti, Maiuri, che non appariva politicamente compromesso, fu chiamato a sostituirlo. Cominciò così il suo impegno, durato quasi quaranta anni, alla direzione di un ufficio con un territorio che spaziava dal basso Lazio al Molise, a tutta la Campania, alla Basilicata. Con città antiche di straordinario fascino come Cuma, Pompei, Paestum, Velia, Ercolano. A parte il Museo di Napoli, fra i più importanti al mondo, allora enorme contenitore non solo di antichità.
Maiuri si caratterizza come archeologo che "vive" l'archeologia. Più che descrivere monumenti colloquia con gli antichi, entra nell'intimità delle loro case e della loro psicologia. A Pompei più che altrove trova un mondo che gli è subito congeniale: mercanti, magistrati, biscazzieri, prostitute, ladri, ambulanti, usurai, ricchi di nobiltà provinciale, affaristi di turno, speculatori di ogni tipo, donne imprenditrici. Di molti rievoca ritratti molto suggestivi, alcuni indimenticabili. Il suo approccio con l'antichità non esclude "spiriti magni" del passato: Livio, Petronio, Virgilio. Con loro il dialogo si arricchisce di straordinari apporti culturali.
Vive l'esperienza amara della guerra, con le bombe sganciate anche su Capri, Pompei. Dalle macerie della sua abitazione napoletana recupera con fatica libri, carte di lavori in corso. Ferito durante un bombardamento mentre in bicicletta percorreva da Pompei la strada per Napoli, vive nel Museo momenti angosciosi delle "Quattro Giornate".
Di Maiuri Maggi narra l'avventura culturale e umana dal punto di vista del protagonista, definendo "magica" la sua archeologia in quanto evocatrice di persone, psicologie, ambienti fascinosi. Ritiene in realtà il rifugio nell'archeologia di Maiuri come una sorta di transfert: appagamento di cocenti sofferenze cominciate nella prima infanzia particolarmente per il sofferto rapporto con la madre. Riferisce anche la straordinaria storia d'amore, mai narrata prima, di questo studioso in gioventù timido e schivo per Valentina Maffei, nipote di un intrigante nunzio apostolico. Quando tentano di sottrargli la fidanzata perché ritenuto non all'altezza della nobile famiglia Maffei, la insegue fino ad Amsterdam e Bruxelles. La riporta in Italia strappandola allo zio per non lasciarla mai più.
Al suo primo apparire questo saggio ebbe lusinghiere recensioni - tra le quali spiccano quelle di Prisco, Pomilio, Pallottino, Romanelli, Necco, Paliotti, Fratta -, risultando finalista al Viareggio e ottenendo il Premio nazionale "Adone Zoli".

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Pius IX's visit to Pompeii in 1849

I have recently been reading about Pius IX’s visit to Pompeii in 1849, while he was enjoying the king’s hospitality at Portici. He visited Pompeii on 22nd October and Herculaneum on 25th October (the small excavated part of Herculaneum was strewn with flowers!). There are contemporary accounts of Pius’ visits, and we know that he came to Pompeii with a huge entourage and that his visit was carefully orchestrated. His day appears to have gone something like this:

Entrance to the site through the Via dei Sepolchi and the Herculaneum Gate - House of the Faun – On-going excavations on Via Fortuna (at the second crossroads after the House of the Faun) - House of the Suonatrice (House of Marcus Lucretius on the Via Stabiana) – On-going excavations, possibly in the house next to the House of the Suonatrice (later named the House of Pius IX, of course!) – LUNCH in the Stabian Baths – Forum – Via dell’ Abbondanza – Triangular Forum – Theatre – Temple of Asclepius – Odeon – Theatre Portico – Temple of Isis – Then across unexcavated land to the Amphitheatre where he was met by crowds of the faithful. For parts of the visit Pius IX was carried by cart.

All well and good, although there is actually some discussion about which houses/shops he saw being excavated, which is relevant because at the end of the visit he was given all the uncovered artefacts from these excavations for the Papal Collection of Pagan Artefacts. Actually the uncovered artefacts were not particularly valuable, but their donation was a gesture to a Pope who was extremely interested in excavation (and sponsored work at Ostia and Rome). There is also a good chance that the excavations were staged - and in fact Fiorelli reports that excavations in the house/shops were begun in anticipation of the Pope's visit.

One of the things that strikes me the most, however, is what a good example this is of 'changes' being made to the excavations for the benefit of a famous visitor. In ‘Pompeii Awakened’ (2007), Judith Harris claims that stone stepping stones along his route were removed – AND NEVER REPLACED – so that the papal cart could pass by! She doesn’t give the source of her information, however, but I can remember noticing missing stones in the past, so she may well be right that it can all be blamed on Pius IX's visit.

Just as a matter of curiosity, can any of you working on streets can tell me the locations of the missing stepping stones?! I'm interested to see if we can fix the route that Pius IX took through the excavations ...

There is apparently a painting of Pius IX watching the excavations at Pompeii in the Vatican collection, but I have yet to find it.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Lectures at the British School at Rome

Many of you will already be familiar with the British School at Rome's regular lecture series, but there are a couple of dates coming up that may be of particular interest:

Wednesday 25 February 2009, 18.00
La ricostruzione del paesaggio costiero di Neapolis e lo scavo del porto antico
Daniela Giampaola (Soprintendenza Archeologica di Napoli)

Wednesday 4 March 2009, 18.00
Water sources and lead poisoning in Pompeii and Herculaneum. New findings from trace element and lead isotope analysis of sinter deposits
Duncan Keenan-Jones (Macquarie University/BSR Macquarie Gale Scholar)

(Not much) more information at the BSR website

Monday, 23 February 2009

Tweeting the eruption: comedic interlude

I'm fairly new to the social networking/microblogging phenomenon called Twitter, and am still trying to really figure out an application for it other than informing the world that I had a veggie burger for lunch... There are a number of archaeology-based Twitterers out there, including Adrian Murdoch and RogueClassicism; their posts have directed me to loads of archaeology news and other information.

Failing to find a "serious" use for Twitter myself, I enjoy finding the comedy gems, like the site Historical Tweets that posts faux messages regarding some very real historical events. This one had me with tears of laughter last week: [For those of you not familiar with the shorthand of Twitter, the @ symbol is used before a Twitter user name to send a message directly to that user. All Twitter messages are 140 characters or fewer.]

Another historical tweet captures an ominous conversation between Brutus and Caesar.

[For those of you who are interested in my relatively random use of Twitter, follow me here.]

Article: Virtual Relighting of a Roman Statue Head from Herculaneum: A Case Study

I've just been sent a copy of a paper recently presented/published on "Virtual Relighting of a Roman Statue Head from Herculaneum: A Case Study", which may be of interest to those involved in digital reconstructions of Vesuvian archaeology.

The work was carried out last year by teams from the University of Warwick (and Southampton), in collaboration with the Herculaneum Conservation Project, and the Superintendency.

The full bibliographical reference is:

Jassim Happa, Mark Williams, Glen Turley, Graeme Earl, Piotr Dubla, Gareth Beale, Greg Gibbons, Kurt Debattista and Alan Chalmers. "Virtual Relighting of a Roman Statue Head from Herculaneum: A Case Study". In AFRIGRAPH '09: Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on Computer graphics, virtual reality, visualisation and interaction in Africa, page 5-12, New York, NY, USA, 2009. ACM.

Given that these conference proccedings are increasingly hard to track down, do feel free to email me at s.court [at] herculaneum.org if you'd like to get hold of a copy.

Profili si sfoga: in sei mesi Scavi migliorati

More from Stabia News about the departure of Profili. In his own words: ‘Ho avviato una catena di montaggio - ha commentato il prefetto alla notizia che tra qualche giorno dovrà lasciare la poltrona al suo successore - che in sei mesi è riuscita a cambiare decisamente volto all'area archeologica. Più di quaranta cantieri aperti. Tutte le domus riaperte al pubblico dopo decenni. Risanamento delle casse della soprintendenza con gli introiti dell'aumento dei visitatori, convenzioni con sponsor privati per centinaia di migliaia di euro. Più servizi e strutture di accoglienza per i turisti. Un nuovo piano commerciale che ha ridato dignità agli ingressi del sito archeologico più conosciuto al mondo. A Pompei sono stato bene. Ho trovato validi collaboratori e con loro ho costruito una squadra affiatata. Probabilmente alla politica non interessa chi lavora con impegno mettendoci il cuore.’

But not everybody is happy about the appointment of a commissario – be it Profili or his successor Fiori. Gianfranco Cerasoli, secretary of the Uil, says, ‘Tuttavia anche il nuovo commissariamento non ha risolto il problema più serio e per me drammatico, vale a dire la mancanza di risorse che di recente ha ricordato Guzzo: per salvare Pompei occorrono 270 milioni di euro. Al neo commissario chiedo: di approntare il piano di rilancio di Pompei e degli altri siti di 270 milioni di euro attraverso la ricerca di risorse nazionali e comunitarie, nonché lanciando una sottoscrizione e raccolta fondi internazionale per la salvaguardia del sito patrimonio dell'umanità; di modificare la composizione del consiglio di amministrazione della soprintendenza di Napoli e Pompei prevedendo anche la presenza di un rappresentante degli enti locali e della Provincia , quello della Regione già è previsto, affinché tutti i coinvolti, tra Stato e autonomie locali, possano immaginare e mettere in campo iniziative di rilancio e di valorizzazione.’

Saturday, 21 February 2009

National Geographic Kids do Pompeii

My kids have just been given a copy of the February 2009 National Geographic Kids (US) magazine, which includes a two-page spread on Pompeii with some cool graphics. My eldest daughter loves it, so I thought perhaps others of you with kids might be interested. (Illustration source)

Friday, 20 February 2009

Pompeii Food & Drink Project 2009

With all of the recent talk on activity at Pompeii minds are beginning to turn towards fieldwork for the upcoming 2009 season! It is without a doubt that we look forward to the sunshine of the Vesuvian region where we can indulge our love of all things Pompeian.

The Pompeii Food & Drink Project will be returning to the site for three weeks from 21 June to 11 July 2009 to continue the non-invasive exploration of structures and features associated with the consumption and production of food and drink in the ancient city. This year's systematic review of evidence will be taking place in Region I, and possibly Region II, and it is hoped that the results will be combined with previous seasons for a preliminary publication to be released in the very near future. A typical day for the project begins just after 8am on-site until approximately 1.30pm, during which time you'll find us among the insulae of Region I, after which we return to our accommodation at the Hotel Villa dei Misteri (nearby the Porta Marina site entrance and Circuvesuviana stop 'Pompei scavi - Villa dei Misteri) for a short break prior to work continuing from approximately 3pm to 7.30pm. In the evenings we enjoy lectures prior to dinner at the hotel and often invite guest-lecturers to join us for use of the pool/dinner.

It would be wonderful once again to meet with other scholars and enthusiasts during this period. Please contact me on email or by mobile (# supplied on request & contactable in Italy) if you would be interested in meeting with us on-site or in the evenings. We look forward to hearing about and seeing your research too!

Nuovo commissario al posto di Profili

video

(Source)

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Otium Ludens: Stabiae, cuore dell’ Impero Romano

On 14th March, 170 finds from eight Stabian villas go on display at the Museo Archeologico of Ravenna as part of the ‘Otium Ludens’ exhibition (which was voted one of the best exhibitions of 2008 by The Times). The exhibition has already been seen at the Hermitage in St Petersburg and at the Hong Kong Museum of Art; Ravenna will be the only Italian stop on its itinerary. It will eventually make its way to the US and Australia. You can read more about the exhibition here. Here are two of the frescos on display (source):

P.S. This one is for you, Rick Jones!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Pompei, Fiori nuovo commissario

This in today's La Republica:
'Sarà Marcello Fiori, dirigente generale della Protezione Civile, ad assumere tra qualche giorno l'incarico di commissario straordinario per gli scavi di Pompei, attualmente ricoperto da Renato Profili. E' quanto si apprende dal ministero per i Beni e le attività culturali. Il prefetto Profili, a quanto si apprende, potrebbe essere destinato ad un incarico nella struttura della Protezione civile. "Il ministro Sandro Bondi ringrazia sentitamente il prefetto Profili per l'opera finora intrapresa - afferma la nota - che ha permesso di conseguire importanti risultati nel miglioramento delle condizioni generali del sito".'

DVD: Herculaneum, diari del buio e della luce

Just letting you all know about the documentary "Herculaneum: diaries of the dark and the light" by Italian film maker Marcellino de Baggis, which won the 2008 Capitello d'Oro prize for best archaeological documentary.
The film is loosely structured around Maiuri's campaign at Herculaneum, and includes new footage shot in 2006-07, including closed areas such as the Theatre and the Suburban Baths. But for most researchers its interest will particularly lie in the archive footage from RAI and Istituto Luce.

The production company's website gives information of where to buy it (i.e. a variety of Italian online shops) - but for those in Ercolano, it can be bought in the small bookshop called Decart on Via IV Novembre (the road leading down from the station to site, bookshop is on the left towards the end).

There are English subtitles!

Herculaneum, diari del buio e della luce

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The stolen fresco from Boscoreale, again

Here are some more details about the fresco recovered in London (see my post of Monday 16th February). The fresco was found during the excavation of the Villa of Asellio, to the north of Pompeii (i.e. Boscoreale), between 1903 and 1904. It was located in a room next to the torcularium of the villa. The fresco depicts Bacchus (appropriate given its location!) pouring wine on an altar. Next to him is a basket of grapes.

The fresco found its way to the London gallery last October. Its last owner, realising that it was an illegally exported antiquity, decided to give it back to Italy. The fresco is valued at 400,000 EUROS.
Source of information and additional photo of Carabinieri posing with fresco(!).

Luxus und dekadenz. Römisches Leben am Golf von Neapel

On 7th February 2009 the exhibition Luxus und Dekadenz was inaugurated at the Archäologische Staatssammlung, Munich, and will run until 30th August 2009. The exhibition has actually been touring Germany (with a planned stop in Holland) since July 2007. There is an Italian news article about it, claiming that – despite promises to the contrary – the exhibition will NOT be seen in Italy due to lack of sponsorship. Instead it may be on its way to Japan.

One of the features of the exhibition, organized by the Soprintendenza ai Beni Archeologici di Napoli and the Roemer Museum di Haltern, is the number of objects taken directly from the storerooms of the Naples Museum (i.e. things not normally on display in the museum). The display includes jewellery, tablewares, frescos, garden statuary and gladiatorial equipment, and a range of other objects. Many were restored specially for the exhibition. But the most stunning exhibit is the reconstruction of the famous caldarium of the Pisanella Villa of Boscoreale. Excavated at the end of the 19th century, the caldarium was dismantled and transported to the Naples Museum, where it was reconstructed under the direction of Amedeo Maiuri in 1932. Thus it is one of the best preserved Roman private bath complexes in existence (and restored in preparation for the Luxus und Dekadenz exhibition), yet has rarely been seen by the public.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Quality accommodation in Herculaneum

After listening to what researchers in the Vesuvian sites wanted most to improve their lives, the International Centre for the Study of Herculaneum has set up a "Bed & Breakfast project" among other initiatives. Perhaps not the most glamorous of projects, but certainly one that is badly needed - accommodation is all in (or near) to the modern town of Ercolano, but may also be of interest to others who are happy to commute on the convenient Circumvesuviana trains.

Your options are:
- bed & breakfast: all the B&Bs have signed up to ensure quality and fixed prices that don't change for non-Italians. The standard is high and B&Bs include: a Bourbon hunting lodge, one above the best restaurant in town, some higher up with views of the Bay of Naples and the islands, etc. Single rooms: 65 euros, double rooms: 75 euros. Pick up from the Circumvesuviana station can be arranged with the owners and to/from site (or from the airport or Naples station for a fee).
- 4* hotel: for those who want a more luxurious stay, Ercolano's new hotel is in one of the Vesuvian villas and within walking distance of site. Some university groups have enjoyed good deals for triple bedrooms - so not just for the professors!
- hostel: the cheapest option is a newly rennovated hostel, good for groups of students, and includes in-house entertainment including live music.

If anyone is interested then booking can be done through the International Centre for the Study of Herculaneum. Speak to Christian or Bianca (English or Italian) on (+39) 081 7882239 or centro@herculaneum.org.

University of Southampton work at Herculaneum

The University of Southampton has just highlighted the work of its archaeology department at Herculaneum on its homepage (www.southampton.ac.uk) with various links for further information. Their work includes a team who are "virtually" reconstructing a statue head (along with the University of Warwick), and another team who have carried out geophysics - all in collaboration with the Herculaneum Conservation Project, and of course, thanks to access and permission granted by the Soprintendenza.

Stolen fresco found in London gallery!

A fresco stolen from the storerooms of Pompeii has been found in a London art gallery and returned to the Italian embassy in London. The fresco is apparently from a villa at Boscoreale. Read for yourselves the article in Il Messaggero. The really weird thing is that no-one knows WHEN the fresco was actually stolen! Which just goes to show how much stuff there is in the storerooms and how hard it is to keep track of it. Don't even get me started …

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Planned restoration work

See here for a report of planned restorations at Pompeii and Stabia. At Pompeii work will be taking place in the Large Palaestra (including the installation of a gallery to house frescos found in the last 50 years at Pompeii and Moregine) and in the Large Theatre.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Pompeiiana Newsletter

A new blog plans to make available all issues of the 'Pompeiiana Newsletter', which ran from 1974 to 2003 and provided resources and articles for teachers and students of Latin. Starting yesterday one issue will be posted each day.

Museo Archeologico di Napoli: re-opening of galleries

'Dopo ponderosi lavori di risistemazione e restauro sembrano essere prossime alla riapertura anche due importanti aree del Museo Archeologico, da tempo bandite ai visitatori. L'una, quella ospitante la collezione Farnese, sull'arte figurativa greca del IV secolo e dell'età ellenistica, riaprirà i battenti in autunno mostrando una ricollocazione delle sculture. L'altra, posizionata al primo piano del Museo e destinata agli affreschi, sarà restituita ad aprile, secondo un percorso tematico che vede allestite la Flora di Castellammare o la poetessa Saffo in microsale espositive.' (Source)


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

You can now buy tickets to the excavations on-line

You can now buy tickets for the archaeological sites of Pompeii (11 EURO), Herculaneum (11 EURO) and Oplontis (5.50 EURO) on-line. The tickets are valid for one day. There is also an integrated ticket for those three sites plus the villas of Stabia and the Antiquarium at Boscoreale (20 EURO) which is valid for 3 days. See http://www.pompei.napoli.com/ to buy the tickets, which you must then print out and present to the site ticket collectors.

This is the SAP press release.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Question about sail-cloth

Here's a question: is there any evidence, or any possibility, that Pompeii was a centre for the production of sail-cloth? This is a question thrown out by one of my students - based on Pompeii's location by the sea - that I can't answer. I'm be grateful for any thoughts.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Via dell'Abbondanza Wall Collapse

I was asked by Jo and Eric if I had any photographs of the wall before it collapsed on 29 January 2009. Fortunately we finished all of our project field work last summer and we have the survey data and photographic images for the facades of each insula on both sides of via dell'Abbondanza - almost 900 meters in length. Our project, under the auspices of the SAP, is more fully described on our web site www.pompeiiperspectives.org.

Here is an image of the wall, which is situated between doorways 5 and 6 in Insula III,7, as it appeared in 2008. Click image to enlarge (we hope).

Friday, 6 February 2009

Trophy-hunting in Pompeii

This week I have been (happily) distracted from my own research project by a question from one of my colleagues about depictions of trophies in Roman wall painting.

I came across these paintings on the facade of a building at III.3.6 on the Via dell'Abbondanza, the so-called Schola Armaturarum.

Does anyone know of recent research on this building? I would love to know if anyone has challenged the interpretation of the function of the building.

[Image source: My quick scan of PPM vol. III, p. 395]

Nuova pubblicazione: Manuale del Restauro Archeologico di Ercolano

Titolo: Manuale del Restauro Archeologico di Ercolano. Tipi, tecniche costruttive e schede progettuali di indirizzo al restauro
Autore: Alessandro Pierattini
Editore: Editrice Librerie Dedalo
Prefazione: Paolo Marconi
Pagine: 230
Illustrazioni: tutto illustrato con piante, rilievi e tavole
Formato: 21x29,7 cm
Codice ISBN: 978-88-95913-124
Anno: 2009
Prezzo (di copertina): 38,00 Euro

Il Manuale del Restauro Archeologico di Ercolano vuole essere una guida alla comprensione dei caratteri dell'edilizia archeologica vesuviana, ed è indirizzato ad architetti, archeologi e cultori dell'archeologia. Obiettivo principale è comprendere la tecnologia antica e interpretare la ratio costruttiva delle architetture archeologiche dalla pianta alla scala di dettaglio, per fornire una guida utile alla stesura di progetti di restauro rispettosi delle caratteristiche originarie dei monumenti vesuviani.
http://www.archimagazine.com/bookshop/lrercolano.htm

Pompeii bibliography 2008

Here is a list of books published about Pompeii in 2008. I am sure it is not complete, so please add to it! Also, it doesn't include books on Herculaneum or any of the other sites. Would someone else like to compile this?!

M. Beard, The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found and Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town. (This is the same book, the first is the US edition, the second the British. Pity the poor fools who bought both …)

Cremante, Harari, Rocchi, Romano (eds), I misteri di Pompei. Antichità Pompeiane nell’ immaginario della modernità.

A.S. Curuni and N. Santupoli, Pompei, via dell'Abbondanza. Ricerche, restauri e nuove tecnologie.


D’Ambrosio, E. De Carolis and P.G. Guzzo, I Gioielli nella Pittura Vesuviana. Quaderni di Studi Pompeiani 2.

M. De’ Spagnolis, Dieci Anni a Pompei e nella valle del Sarno.

C. Ferone and L. Garcia y García, Questioni Pompeiane ed altri scritti di Raffaele Garrucci.

P.G. Guzzo and M.P. Guidobaldi, Nuove ricerche archeologiche nell'area vesuviana, scavi 2003-2006: Atti del convegno internazionale, Roma, 1-3 febbraio 2007.

L. Jacobelli (ed), Pompei. La costruzione di un mito. Arte Letteratura aneddotica di un’ icona turistica.

Katharina Lorenz, Bilder Machen Räume: Mythenbilder in Pompeianischen Häusern (Image and Context 5).

C.C. Mattusch, Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and culture around the Bay of Naples.

M.L. Nava, R. Paris, R. Friggeri (eds), Rosso Pompeiano. La decorazione pittorica nelle collezioni del Museo di Napoli e a Pompei.

J. Nagel, Nekropolen von Pompeji. Die Grabbauten vor dem Herkulaner Tor.

V. Provenzale, Echi di Propaganda in scene di coppia a Pompei: Enea e Didone, Marte e Venere, Perseo e Andromeda.

F. Russo and F. Russo, 79 DC. Rotta su Pompei. Indagine sulla scomparsa di un ammiraglio.

F. Russo and F. Russo, Pompei: La tecnologia dimenticata. Cenni di tecnica tra le pagine di un ammiraglio.(I'm not sure if this is the same as the previous book?)

F. Senatore (ed), Oebalus. Studi sulla Campania nell’ antichità, Vol. 3.

A. Virgili, Culti misterici ed orientali a Pompei.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

AIAC seminar, Rome

For those of us currently in Rome, there is an AIAC meeting on Monday 16th February 2009 at 17.00 at the Istituto Svedese di Studi Classici a Roma (Via Omero, 14). The theme is urban identity, and one of our blog members, Linda Öhman, will be speaking.

Here are the details:

Matthew Notarian (American Academy in Rome & Department of Classics, University at Buffalo), Civic Transformation in Early Imperial Latium: An Archaeological and Social History of Praeneste, Tibur and Tusculum.

Linda Öhman (Istituto Svedese di Studi Classici a Roma), Neighbours: the experience of local city life at Pompeii.

Mihaela Iacob (Accademia di Romania), Identità ed integrazione: le personificazioni romane nella monetazione provinciale della Moesia Inferiore.

Alun Williams (British School at Rome / University of Cardiff), George Grote, E.A. Freeman, and the British historiography of ancient colonisation.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

House of Julius Polybius and Der Spiegel

I was reminded by Francesca's re-posting of Der Spiegel's article about 'recent' research to reconstruct the final hours of the inhabitants of the House of Julius Polybius that I was deeply suspicious that this was new research ... So, a little investigation later, I can tell you that Luongo, Perrotta and Scarpati gave a conference paper on the effects of the eruption on the House of Julius Polybius in 1997 (I even went to it, I have the conference material to prove it!), and they published an article on it in 2001:

Luongo, G., Perrotta A. e Scarpati C. 2001. 'L'impatto dei prodotti di eruzioni esplosive sull' ambiente: l'eruzione del 79 d.C. a Pompei'. In: La casa di Giulio Polibio. Studi Interdisciplinari. Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali. Edizione: Centro Studi Arte Figurative, Università di Tokyo, pp. 215-238.

Of course, this doesn't mean that they're not still working on it ... I wonder where Der Spiegel got its information from?

Luongo, Perrotta and Scarpati were involved in the production of a Japanese CDRom: 'La casa di Julius Polybius' by Masanori Aoyagi, 2001. They have published a whole bunch of articles on the impact on the eruption on structures, and I will list those in a comment to this post.

In 2003, the BBC made a documentary entitled 'Pompeii. The Last Day', which tells the story of the final hours of the inhabitants of the House of Julius Polybius, and also of other characters (such as Stephanus, of the Fullery of Stephanus). The work of Luongo, Perrotta and Scarpati is not explicitly credited, but I can't believe that it didn't influence the documentary ...
video
(Four other parts of this documentary can also be seen on UTube.)

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Death in Pompeii!

Yes, this article from Der Spiegel has the familiar attention-grabbing headline, but rather than just being an entirely puff piece on the topic, it's actually presenting some new work on vulcanology in Pompeii, specifically focusing on the Casa di J. Polybius. This particular research project is being carried out by Claudio Scarpati, Giuseppe Luongo, and Anna Maria Perrotta of the Universita' di Napoli Federico II.

There are also some interesting drawings reconstructing the phases of the eruption, as experienced by this house.

Pompei, Autogrill gestirà il ristorante negli Scavi

Autogrill will run the on-site restaurant from March, for six years. See the SAP press release.

The Production and Distribution of Pottery at Pompeii

The latest American Journal of Archaeology (113.1; January 2009) is out. There is one article on Pompeii:

J. Theodore Pena and Myles McCallum, The Production and Distribution of Pottery at Pompeii: A Review of the Evidence; Part 1, Production, pp. 57 - 80.

By (what seems to me, at least) remarkable coincidence, I have just been reading Pena's article in JRA 20 (2007) on the tituli picti from Pompeii which suggests that Sicilian producers had a much greater share of Pompeii's wine-market than hitherto thought.

Museo Archeologico di Napoli public lectures

Here is a list of upcoming lectures at the Museo Archeologico di Napoli:

giovedì 5 febbraio 2009 ore 15
Una mostra su “Ercolano. Tre secoli di scoperte” di Maria Paola Guidobaldi

giovedì 26 febbraio 2009 ore 15
I Campi Flegrei tra mito e memoria di Rossana Valenti

giovedì 12 marzo 2009 ore 15
Vulcanesimo e termalismo nei Campi Flegrei di Tommaso Wenner

giovedì 2 aprile 2009 ore 15
Le antichità nel Regno di Napoli prima del Museo Borbonico di Vincenzina Castiglione Morelli

giovedì 16 aprile 2009 ore 15
Vasi romani in bronzo: utensili o oggetti preziosi? di Suzanne Tassinari

sabato 18 aprile 2009 ore 11
An introduction to the Naples Archaeological Museum by Valeria Pitterà and Luca Prosdocimo Info and reservation 081 4421522 (h. 10-14, except on Tuesday)

giovedì 23 aprile 2009 ore 15
La colonia romana di Liternum: nuove acquisizioni e prospettive di Patrizia Gargiulo

giovedì 30 aprile 2009 ore 15
I ritrovamenti dell’Età del Bronzo nell’area nolana di Giuseppe Vecchio

lunedì 4 maggio 2009 ore 15, Teatro Antico di Napoli
Il teatro di Neapolis a cura di Apoikia s.r.l.

giovedì 7 maggio 2009 ore 15, Museo
Il “Museo” di Napoli attraverso le guide a stampa di Maria Rosaria Esposito e Piera Russo

sabato 16 maggio 2009 ore 11, Pozzuoli, Rione Terra
Il Rione Terra a Pozzuoli di Valeria Pitterà e Luca Prosdocimo


For further information, see http://www.marketplace.it/museo.nazionale/incontri_archeologia.htm.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Blogging Herculaneum

I've just been invited to join this blog so I can add some information from Herculaneum, as I work for the Herculaneum Conservation Project. Perhaps in this way we can make up slightly for our permanently "under construction" website - although we always try to answer any and all enquiries to hcp@herculaneum.org.

The biggest news from Herculaneum at the moment is the exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples (but nothing to do with us!) If you haven't had the chance to see it yet, it's on until mid April and well worth it - many of the objects (mainly large bronze and marble sculpture) were dug out of the storerooms and restored for this exhibition.

For those in the area, Herculaneum's site director, Maria Paola Guidobaldi, will be giving a lecture to accompany the exhibition on Thursday 5 February 2009 at 3pm (at the Naples Museum). For more information on this and the rest of the lecture series (all based on Bay of Naples archaeology) see: http://www.marketplace.it/museo.nazionale/incontri_archeologia.htm.

Recent work in the Basilica of Herculaneum

Here is a report of work recently undertaken by the Herculaneum Conservation Project in the basilica.

Pompeii and the Roman Villa

Following on from Molly's post of 22nd January (Symposium: National Gallery), I just want to point out for those (like me) who didn't initially realise it that the symposium is just one of the events - including gallery lectures and teacher and school workshops - taking place in conjunction with a big exhibition entitled 'Pompeii and the Roman Villa'. The exhibition website is really impressive. There are a series of audio guides that you can listen to on-line, a lecture by Paul Zanker, and you can watch a video clip of the exhibition. Finally, you can buy a video ' Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples', narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi - of 'I, Claudius' fame.
Not only all this, there are actually two exhibitions. The second is entitled 'Documenting Discovery: The Excavation of Pompeii and Herculaneum', and you can see a slideshow of images from this and also from Giorgio Sommer's photo album 'Pompei'. I particularly love these photos. You can see the Eumachia statue outside the Eumachia Building and a whole bunch of capitals, roof tiles, terracotta pots and what look like weights positioned around the altar in the Sanctuary of the Genius of Augustus. I have no idea whether these were actually found here or whether they were 'posed' for the photo.

There is a description of the exhibition in Mary Beard's blog.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Via dell'Abbondanza collapse - what we've lost















I'm very glad for the tourist picture of the collapse posted by Jo... the word landslide had created even greater horrors in my mind.
Now, what we've lost. By way of documentation, here is a picture I took of this wall nearly two years ago (incidentally on my birthday!). We might add some description and call this a brick quoined opus incertum wall, about three meters high with a slit window near the top. It existed between the last two doors (not numbered) in the eastern most insula of Regio III (7 or 8, depending on your map).

There are other items that could supplement this image. Jeremy, do you know of any archival images of this wall from your research? Perhaps Jennifer and Arthur Stephens have more precise and recent data from their via dell'Abbondanza project research.

Sadly, this kind of post-mortem documentation could become (and always could have been) a regular story.
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