Thursday, 30 April 2009

Villa di Poppea: "Raccontami" con Gea Martire

Also from Lo Strillone:
Gli attori Gea Martire e Mimmo Esposito sabato 2 maggio alle ore 11.00 e domenica 3 maggio alle ore 11.00 e alle ore 12.00, accoglieranno i visitatori della villa di Poppea recitando testi "Raccontami" e "Due mondi" ispirati al sito archeologico oplontino. Dopo la lettura seguiranno visite guidate gratuite a cura dell´Archeoclub di Torre Annunziata. Ingresso gratuito.

I Maggio: ingresso a 1 euro per Musei e Siti archeologici.

From Lo Strillone:
I siti archeologici di Pompei, Ercolano, Oplontis, Stabia, il Museo di Boscoreale, il Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, il Castello di Baia, Cuma, Pozzuoli e Capri resteranno aperti in via straordinaria il giorno 1 maggio 2009. Il biglietto costerà solo un 1 euro: lo comunica la Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei. L´elenco comprende celebri luoghi della cultura nelle città d´arte, oltre a quelli diffusi sul territorio. L´iniziativa, già sperimentata da qualche anno, ha dimostrato l´interesse degli italiani, e dei moltissimi turisti stranieri presenti nel nostro paese anche in questa stagione, per gli eventi che avvicinano la cultura al grande pubblico.

Publishing house: Edizioni Flavius

I just came across a publishing house whose mission aim is to promote the Vesuvian sites. Edizioni Flavius was founded in 2001 and its catalogue has a fairly impressive array of catalogues and studies. Here are just a few examples:

· Storia di Pompei Antica di Felice Senatore
· Uomo e ambiente nel territorio vesuviano. Guida all'Antiquarium di Boscoreale a cura di Grete Stefani
· UNO ALLA VOLTA. La tavoletta cerata a cura di Grete Stefani
· UNO ALLA VOLTA. La Groma a cura di Grete Stefani
· Moda, Costume e Bellezza a Pompei e dintorni a cura della Soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei
· Oplontis 40 anni di ricerca a cura di Soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei
· Pompei Antica - Immagini per la storia a cura di Grete Stefani

Personally I’ve only seen the two UNO ALLA VOLTA books (pamphlets, really) and the Boscoreale Antiquarium guide which are good, but I have been told that some of the other books are a bit difficult to read (lack of margins, poor layout and so on) but have good illustrations. Some of these books can be bought on-line – but unfortunately not all. Still, a site to keep an eye on …

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Archaeology Image Bank

I've just come across the website of the "Archaeology Image Bank" which describes itself as follows:

This resource is intended as a tool for locating and sharing archaeological images for use in teaching, studying and research. There is no charge for using the Image Bank but you will be asked to read and accept the terms and conditions of use before viewing any images. We also encourage you to donate your own archaeological images using the donation section of this interface.

This is another great initiative for sharing information, but will presumably only work if everyone contributes. I did a quick check and so far there are no images from Pompeii or any of the Vesuvian sites - but if you all donated your best images it would be a really useful resource.
What do you all think?

Blog: Eruptions

I recently came across a blog about volcanic eruptions. Eruptions is written by a geologist and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in volcanoes. There are a couple of really interesting posts about Vesuvius:

Vesuvius also features in the discussion of other volcanoes on this site. There is also an interesting comparison between the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 and that of Mount St Helens in 1980 on a related ScienceBlogs site: A tale of two volcanoes. And you can find a brief history of the eruptions of Vesuvius here.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Exhibition: L'Italie des architectes. Du relevé à l'invention. (Paris, April 7th - July 19th)

Eugène Viollet-le-DucFragment of Pompeian Architecture© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN

Here is the presentation text of a current exhibition in Paris that might be interesting, even if only in two rooms in the Orsay Museum.

In the 19th century, developments in transport and a growing interest in archaeology meant that the journey to Italy was no longer the preserve of a few students from the école des Beaux-arts in Paris who had been awarded the Grand Prix de Rome. The visit beyond the Alps became a necessary part of architectural training.

This journey was an exciting period of study for these young artists. Away from the hustle and bustle of Paris, they discovered buildings they mainly knew indirectly, and examined in detail – and sometimes challenged – the knowledge passed down by previous generations. The study of Italian monuments, encouraged too by the development of architectural publications, changed their view of history, and determined a whole range of architectural creativity at that time.

For a detailed presentation

Conferenza stampa: La pitture pompeiana

29 APRILE 2009 ORE 12
Napoli, Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Riapre al pubblico, dopo più di 10 anni di chiusura per restauro e riallestimento, a cura di Mariarosaria Borriello e Valeria Sampaolo, la Collezione Affreschi del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli che raccoglie più di 400 affreschi restituiti dalle città vesuviane distrutte dall’Eruzione del 79 d.C.
Il criterio seguito per il nuovo allestimento ha privilegiato la ricomposizione dei contesti e la sequenza cronologica.
La collezione delle pitture del Museo costituisce un eccezionale documento della pittura di età romana, nella sua evoluzione e varietà, dal II stile al IV stile.
Catalogo Electa a cura di Irene Bragantini e Valeria Sampaolo.
Comunicato e immagini su:

Monday, 27 April 2009

Article: From Fragments to Icons: Stages in the Making and Exhibiting of the Casts of Pompeian Victims, 1863-1888

I just found an interesting on-line article about the history of plastercasts by Eugene Dwyer. I wish I'd found it sooner. This is the reference and link:
Possibly I'm being dim, but I can't figure out what year this came out in. Can anyone complete the reference for me?
The illustration is taken from the article.

Greek Art/Roman Eyes: The Reception of Greek Art in the Private Sphere in Ancient Italy

This from The Getty:
Keynote public lecture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art June 4, 2009Scholarly symposium at the Getty Villa June 5 and 6, 2009.
This symposium addresses how Romans and other ancient peoples on the Italian peninsula collected, appreciated, emulated, and displayed the art and culture of Greece to diverse ends and the various ways ancient Greek art was presented in houses and villas in Italy from as early as the eighth century B.C. to the height of the Roman Empire. Distinguished international experts explore such topics as the early import of Greek artworks, the adaptation and reinterpretation of foreign myths to meet local needs, the ancient art market, encounters between Greeks and Romans at various social levels, the diverse functions of Roman villas, and recent finds from current excavations. This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples, on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art May 3 to October 4, 2009, and the current annual research theme at the Getty Villa, The Power and Function of Ancient Images. It is organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with additional support provided by the Italian Consulate General of Los Angeles, the Italian Cultural Institute, Los Angeles, and the Campania Region.

Exhibition: La Groma

‘La Groma’. Antiquarium di Boscoreale, Via Settetermini, 80041 Boscoreale (NA).
Ingresso 5 EURO.
A great new exhitition entitled ‘La Groma’ has just opened at the Antiquarium of Boscoreale, and will run until 20th September 2009. The exhibition has been organized by Grete Stefani, and is one of a series of small exhibitions that aim to provide a deeper insight into particular themes or aspects of everyday life (the exhibition last year on the wax tablets of the Moregine complex was part of this series). It is arranged around two main foci: the Nicostratus funerary inscription which depicts a groma, and the groma found in the Shop of Verus (I.6.3). There is a modern reconstruction of a groma displayed alongside the ancient (reconstructed) one (which is normally it is kept in the storerooms of the Naples Museum) along with an explanation of their use, and – something I found very interesting – a discussion of the find-spots and excavations of both the inscription and the ancient groma. A range of other artefacts from the Shop of Verus are also displayed. Matteo Della Corte hypothesized that this was the shop of a craftsman who made, or repaired (or both) metal objects – although there is no way of confirming this. A whole bunch of technical tools were found in the shop (various types of blade, a ruler, compasses, tweezers and so on), but there were also many other objects including lots of bronze and terracotta vessels (many found on the upper floor), a couple of money boxes, an incised gem, coins, jewellery, and so on. I’d be interested to hear what those of you working on shops have to say about this one …

There is a nice little pamphlet that accompanies the exhibition and which illustrates many of the artefacts and their findspots.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Visiting the papyri

It seems that not many people know where to go to find the Herculaneum papyri, but as I recently went on a visit myself to see them I thought I'd share my information about how easy it is.

The papyri are currently housed in the National Library of Naples (note, they are no longer in the National Museum) - in a section called the "Officina dei Papiri Ercolanesi Marcello Gigante".

The papyri themselves can be consulted, along with a specialist section of the library - or you can simply book a guided tour. Tours need to be booked in advance, but can be arranged in either English or Italian. They include a short presentation on the history of the papyri from discovery to recent scholarship, and then a visit to see the items themselves: you get to see both intact scrolls and unrolled ones, and the famous unrolling machine made by Father Antonio Piaggio.

Congratualtions to the library on offering access even to those of us who aren't specialist scholars!

For more information: bn-na.papiri[at]

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Book + CD-ROM: Il Fondo Bibliografico di Amedeo Maiuri

Many thanks to Anna Lucignano for having given me a copy of this incredibly useful book with CD-ROM, that will be of great interest to all Vesuvian scholars:

Pappalardo, U. (ed.)(2009) Il Fondo Bibliografico di Amedeo Maiuri: libri, carteggio e cimeli di un grande archeologo. Naples: L'Orientale Editrice.

Essentialy this book offers a catalogue of the material held in the Fondo Amedeo Maiuri. For those of you are unfamiliar with this collection:

Il Fondo Amedeo Maiuri, acquisito nel 2001 dall’Università “Suor Orsola Benincasa” di Napoli, è attualmente custodito a Pompei nel “Centro Internazionale per gli Studi Pompeiani”. Esso si compone di diversi nuclei: fotografico, librario, archivistico e una raccolta di cimeli.
Il nucleo fotografico (con circa 1200 immagini) riguarda i maggiori siti archeologici della Campania.
Il nucleo librario (composto da più di 4000 titoli) comprende tutta la sua produzione nelle diverse edizioni: opere di archeologia, letteratura, storia, arte religione, guide turistiche, alcuni testi del Settecento e dell’Ottocento nonché edizioni critiche di autori classici.
Il nucleo archivistico è formato dal carteggio privato, articoli di giornale, due dattiloscritti e due manoscritti su Ercolano, appunti bibliografici e taccuini di scavo: a questi si aggiungono alcuni carteggi della figlia Bianca.
I cimeli sono costituiti da premi, medaglie, targhe, lauree e diplomi al merito, cittadinanze onorarie e la livrea azzurra di Accademico d’Italia.

To give you an idea of the book's contents, I'll give you the index:

Fondo librario, fotografico e carteggio



Campi Flegrei
Il Lago d'Averno e il Lago Lucrino
Baia e Bacoli
Museo Nazionale di Napoli
Palazzo Reale di Napoli
Amedeo Maiuri
Appendice: Elenco delle foto e delle diapositive

George Macmillan
Conferenze e inaugurazioni
Appendice: Elenco delle conferenze e delle inaugurazioni
L'inchiesta Maiuri
Appendice: Il Memoriale. La Sentenza


Appendice: Bibliografia di Amedeo Maiuri



Il quadro storico
Il territorio
Lo studio d Amedeo Maiuri
Liternum: le indagini successive allo studio di Amedeo Maiuri
Lo studio della località Hamae
Appendice: Taccuino di Appunti

I parte
II parte
Campi Flegrei


Friday, 17 April 2009

Signing off for a week ...

This is my last post for a week. I will be in Campania with the ICCS students (and Jeremy Hartnett), and in Pompeii for three days next week. Email me if you are there too and would like to meet up.

A quick reminder about our next social event: Sunday 26th April at Bar San Callisto, Trastevere, Rome, 9pm.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Review: Federica Giacobello, Larari pompeiani.

Federica Giacobello, Larari pompeiani: Iconografia e culto dei Lari in ambito domestico. (Milano: LED, 2008). Reviewed by Lauren Hackworth Petersen in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.04.50

Pasqua a Napoli: arrivano i turisti, ma le sale dei musei sono chiuse

This from about the opening (or lack thereof) of galleries in the museums of Naples ... I am fairly amused by the idea of the custodes being 'costretto' to open the Gabinetto Segreto!

Per le festività di Pasqua l’arrivo dei turisti a Napoli è stato piuttosto ingente, rispetto a quanto si prevedeva.Tuttavia, all’impegno profuso da Bed&Breakfast, Alberghi e strutture ricettive non è corrisposta un’offerta turstica all’altezza della situazione.
Il giorno 11 Aprile 2009 al Museo Archeologico Nazionale le condizioni erano queste: 9 padiglioni su 16 erano chiusi; in mattinata erano chiuse gli appartamenti reali del Museo di Capodimonte.
La motivazione addotta è stata: mancanza di personale, dipendenti in ferie o malattia.
Le proteste di alcuni turisti francesi e di una famiglia di Urbino hanno “costretto” i dipendenti del Museo Archeologico Nazionale ad aprire il Gabinetto Segreto, circostanza che ha obbligato la chiusura di un altro settore.Certo la chiusura delle sale di questo Museo non è una novità, in questo periodo si è naturalmente evidenziata con una maggiore affluenza. Ed è una certezza la carenza cronica di personale in un settore che necessiterebbe non di poche centinaia di posti in più come previsto nell’ultimo concorso, alcune migliaia di nuovi forze-lavoro a qualsiasi livello.
Del resto, nei musei napoletani anche le condizioni di lavoro dei dipendenti statali e di coloro i quali lavorano a progetto, nel precariato, con diverse società sono non particolarmenti favorevoli, come ci sembra di cogliere in un articolo pubblicato sulla Repubblica del 12 Aprile 2009, a firma di Cristina Zagaria.

Conference: L'Acqua di Serino nella Storia

This from Greenopoli:

L'Acqua di Serino nella Storia

Sabato 18 Aprile 2009, ore 18:00
Biblioteca Comunale prof. padre Floro di Zenzo Serino (AV)
Il Convegno è organizzato dal portale web ( in collaborazione con la Pro Loco ed il Comune di Serino. Diversi sono gli interventi previsti:
"L'Acquedotto Augusteo Serino-Napoli-Miseno" a cura dell'ing. Giovanni De Feo, docente e ricercatore dell'Università di Salerno, nonché ideatore e coordinatore di Greenopoli, il portale della Sostenibilità e della Condivisione;
"La Piscina Mirabilis", a cura dell'ing. Sabino De Gisi, dottorando di ricerca presso la Facoltà di Ingegneria dell'Università degli Studi di Salerno, nonché componente dello staff tecnico di Greenopoli;
"L'Antico Acquedotto Serino-Benevento", a cura dell'ing. Carmela Malvano, dottoranda di ricerca presso la Facoltà di Ingegneria dell'Università degli Studi di Salerno, nonché componente dello staff tecnico di Greenopoli.
Il Convegno si chiuderà con una tavola rotonda che prevede la partecipazione del cav. Ottaviano De Biase, storico locale, nonché del prof. Francesco Barra e del prof. Sebastiano Martelli, dell'Università degli Studi di Salerno.
L'Acquedotto Augusteo Serino-Napoli-Miseno non è (ancora) sufficientemente conosciuto nel mondo in quanto, diversamente da altri più noti sistemi idrici romani, per esso non ci sono resti spettacolari di ponti o di sterminate file di archi. In ogni caso, si tratta di un autentico capolavoro dell'ingegneria ed uno dei sistemi acquedottistici più grandi dell'impero romano. La sua importanza è testimoniata da svariate fonti bibliografiche, e tra queste possiamo trovare un romanzo: Pompeii di Robert Harris. Serino-Neapolis-Misenum fu probabilmente costruito nel periodo compreso tra il 33 e il 12 a.C. quando Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa era curator aquarum a Roma. Diversi sono i motivi della costruzione dell'Acquedotto di Serino: rifornimento della flotta romana di Misenum; rifornimento idrico per soddisfare la crescente domanda dell'importante porto commerciale di Puteoli (Pozzuoli); rifornimento di acqua potabile per grandi città come Cumae (Cuma) e Neapolis (Napoli). Il canale principale era pari a circa 96 km. L'acquedotto aveva 7 rami principali per una lunghezza pari a circa 49 km. La lunghezza totale era di circa 145 km e, quindi, l'Acquedotto di Serino dovrebbe essere considerato il più grande sistema acquedottistico dell'Impero Romano! Il tratto terminale dell'acquedotto è ancora oggi visibile nel splendore: la Piscina Mirabilis. Situata sulla collina, di fronte al mare, riforniva d'acqua la Classis Praetoria Misenensis. Si tratta di una immensa cisterna rettangolare di 72 per 27 metri, con ben 48 pilastri che la dividono in 5 ali, sul lato corto, e 13 ali sul lato lungo. La Piscina Mirabilis era capace di stoccare fino a 12.600 metri cubi d'acqua.
L'Antico Acquedotto Serino-Benevento è un altro fiore all'occhiello dell'archeologia e dell'ingegneria idraulica dell'Irpinia e del Sannio. Il Caput Aquae dell'acquedotto è la sorgente Urciuoli (Sorgenti Basse) che ancora oggi dopo due millenni con le vicine Sorgenti Alte (Acquaro-Pelosi) continua a fornire acqua agli abitanti di Napoli. Ci sono tre teorie circa la costruzione ed il periodo di costruzione dell'acquedotto: fu costruito dai Sanniti prima dell'acquedotto Augusteo, fu costruito dopo la costruzione dell'acquedotto augusteo dai Romani, fu costruito nello stesso periodo di tempo. Oggi si assume che l'acquedotto beneventano fu costruito contemporaneamente alla realizzazione della colonia di Benevento. La teoria più plausibile è che fu costruito dai Romani nello stesso periodo o poco prima la realizzazione dell'acquedotto augusteo. Il canale principale dell'acquedotto è lungo circa 35 Km ed ha due piccoli affluenti laterali. Oggi un tratto ben conservato dell'acquedotto è stato riportato alla luce presso la Rocca dei Rettori a Benevento.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Latest Fasti article (PARP:PS - Ellis and Devore)

The 2008 field season of the 'Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia' is now published in the Journal of Fasti online. You can download it here. Speaking of which, and if I may wear for a moment my other cap of Editorial Board member for the Fasti, those of you with active fieldwork or research projects might consider submitting an article for publication with Fasti. The journal is peer-reviewed and has an obviously wide and freely accessible readership base. We'll be glad to hear from you.
Steven Ellis (Cincinnati)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Museo Archaeologico dei Campi Flegrei: Castello di Baia

Calendario 2009 - Aperture straordinarie al pubblico delle nuove sezioni museali

26 aprile (domenica - settimana beni culturali)
1 maggio (festa del lavoro)
3 maggio (domenica)
31 maggio (domenica)
2 giugno (festa della Repubblica)
21 giugno (giornata della Musica)
6 settembre (domenica)
20 settembre (domenica - giornata del patrimonio)

L'orario di apertura delle nuove sezioni è dalle 9.00 alle 14.00 con ultimo ingresso alle 13.00.
Dalle 14.00 ad un'ora prima del tramonto si potrà visitare solo la Torre Nord-Ovest (sale 55-56 preesistente sezione).
per questioni organizzative è obbligatorio comunicare preventivamente il n. di persone alla biglietterie del Museo (081 5233310 dalle 9.00 alle 16.00)

Conference: Science at the Archaeology/Art Interface

Blog readers in New York may be interested in this event:

Science at the Archaeology/Art Interface: Third Science and Art Symposium
Pratt Institute
20-21 April 2009

The Vesuvian link lies in two presentations of recent work at Herculaneum:

The Herculaneum Conservation Project, a large scale multidisciplinary approach for the preservation of the ancient Roman city.
Alessandra De Vita, Archeological conservator, Coordinator of Scientific Research, the Herculaneum Conservation Project, Italy

Results on an NMR and XRF study of the Mosaic at the house of Neptune and Amphitrite at Herculaneum. A collaborative project between Pratt, RWTH, University of Aachen, and the Herculaneum Conservation Project.
Eleonora Del Federico Associate Professor of Chemistry, Pratt Institute Department of Math and Science, and Carola Garcia Manzano, MS student in Archeology, Hunter College

For more details or to sign up email edelfede[at]
(or I can send round the poster and programme: s.court[at]

In Germany, an outpost of Pompeii shows its age

An interesting piece below about the condition of the Pompejanum of Aschaffenburg - a replica Pompeian villa built from 1843 - 50 by Ludwig I of Baveria. It's interesting to note that the Pompejanum suffers from the same problems of preservation as the ruins of Pompeii themselves.
Does anyone know whether the Pompejanum is based on a particular villa or is it just 'Pompeian-style'? There must be articles and books written about it - can anyone provide some bibliography?

So ancient is Europe that even a "new" building often seems as battered and worn as an "old" one. East of Frankfurt, restorers have struggled to remove the scars of nearly 160 years from a reproduction Roman villa which used to offer a vision of luxury living in the Italian city of Pompeii before a volcanic eruption on August 24 in 79 AD. ...
The Pompejanum was built in the German city of Aschaffenburg as a replica of a villa in Pompeii. The rich reds, intense blues and greens of its wall paintings are a shock to anyone expecting the dullness of the ancient ruins.
"The excavations were expanding during the reign of King Ludwig I of Bavaria," explained a Pompejanum art historian, Werner Helmberger.
Like many educated Europeans, Ludwig had made the Grand Tour to Italy and had been fascinated by the discoveries.
"He noticed how quickly the colourful Roman frescoes faded when they were brought to light," said Georg Fahrenschon, today's Bavarian finance minister, who oversaw funding of the replica's restoration. That gave him the idea of building a reproduction villa.
"He never intended to live there. Its purpose was to educate Bavarians about classical architecture," said Helmberger.
In 1843, Ludwig laid the foundation stone at Aschaffenburg, a town in the far north of his kingdom, and the replica with its colourful interior was completed in 1850. But within a century it was as much a ruin as Pompeii was.
During the Second World War, the US Army shelled Aschaffenburg. The walls of the Pompejanum were smashed and the frescoes lost. The building is close to the Main River, and dampness from the soil crept into what was left, worsening the damage, along with vandalism.
Teenagers lit campfires in the rooms or scratched hearts into the plaster. A bullet which remains impacted in the nose of the goddess Hera in a mosaic apparently dates from those violent days.
Restoration of this outpost of Campania began in the 1960s. In the decades since, fashions in historical preservation have regularly changed and each phase followed different principles. The last, intensive phase began in 1989.
In line with current principles that advocate showing a building's many phases, parts of the Pompejanum are fully restored to their 1848 state and others seem frozen in their state of war destruction in 1945.
The Housewife's Room, opened to the public this month when the work was completed, has largely grey walls, where the US shells wrecked the frescoes. They have only been restored at a few spots.
Restorer Armin Schmickl-Prochnow said: "We make a point of only using the materials of 2,000 years ago. They are simply earth pigments with some lime added to bond them."
Raimund Wuensche, head of the Bavarian state antiquities collection, said the 12.7 million euros (17 million dollars) spent since the 1960s on restoring the Pompejanum had been well worth it.
"It's a unique feeling here: the space, the frescoes, the culture, all in one place."
(source: Flickr. For more photos from Flickr, see here).

Monday, 13 April 2009

New website for PARP:PS

Some Blogging Pompeii members may be interested to learn that the 'Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia' has a new website, which can be found at: Thanks go to John Wallrodt at the University of Cincinnati for building such a great site for the project. And thanks to Jo for reminding me to post this update in the first place...!
Steven Ellis (Cincinnati)

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Blogging Pompeii Social Event, II

Calling all fellow bloggers and any other Pompeianists (in the most general sense!) in Rome on Sunday 26th April! We will be meeting at the Bar San Callisto in Trastevere at 9pm for a few beers.
Happy Easter to you all!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Settimana della Cultura, 18 - 26th April 2009

La cultura è di tutti: partecipa anche tu

Here is a brief summary of events. For more details and information about how to book, see here.

Da sabato 18 a domenica 26 aprile 2009

  • Napoli, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, ore 9-19, Mostra “Ercolano. Tre secoli di scoperte”.
  • Napoli, Terme di Vico Carminiello ai Mannesi, angolo via Duomo. “Visita all’insula romana con impianto termale dell’antica Neapolis”.
  • Acerra, Area archeologica dell’antica Suessula, via Calabricito. “Visita al foro dell’antica città di Suessula”.
  • Anacapri, Casa Rossa, ore 10,30-16. “Mostra di statue dalla Grotta Azzurra”.
  • Boscoreale, Antiquarium Nazionale “Uomo e ambiente nel territorio vesuviano”. “Mostra ‘La groma’”.
  • Giugliano in Campania, località Lago Patria. “Visite guidate al Parco Archeologico di Liternum”
  • Piano di Sorrento, Museo Archeologico Territoriale della Penisola Sorrentina “Georges Vallet”. “La lettura fantastica dei segni archeologici”
  • Sedi diverse: “Itinerario didattico tra natura e archeologia” (Baia, Pozzuoli, Posillipo, Punta Campanella, Pompei, Ercolano, Oplontis, Capri).

Sabato 18 aprile 2009

  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, ore 11. “An introduction to the Naples Archaeological Museum” by Valeria Pitterà and Luca Prosdocimo.
  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, ore 11.30. “Viaggio in Grecia” di e con Annie Pempinello e Salvatore Dota, e con Susanna Canessa, violoncello, voce e chitarra.
  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, ore 17. “Un’ora al museo”.

Sabato 18 e domenica 19, sabato 25 e domenica 26 aprile 2009

  • Bacoli, Teatro di Miseno e Sacello degli Augustali, ore 9-16. “Apertura al pubblico”.
  • Bacoli, Grotta della Dragonara, ore 9-16, “Apertura al pubblico”

Domenica 19 aprile 2009

  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, ore 10,30. “Presentazione del libro d’artista ‘Taranterra’”. Intervengono l’antropologa Katia Ballacchino, il cantatore Marcello Colasurdo, l’archeologo della musica Roberto Melini e lo psicanalista Antonio Vitolo; azione coreutica e musicale degli “Echi flegrei” con strumenti tipici della tradizione campana.
  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, ore 16,30. “Alla scoperta del Museo”

Giovedì 23 aprile 2009

  • Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, ore 15. “La colonia romana di Liternum: nuove acquisizioni e prospettive” di Patrizia Gargiulo

Domenica 26 aprile 2009

  • Castello di Baia, Museo Archeologico dei Campi Flegrei, ore 9-14. “Castello di Baia: il Museo Archeologico dei Campi Flegrei”
L’ingresso ai musei e alle aree archeologiche e la partecipazione a tutte le manifestazioni sono gratuiti.

LACMA draws the line on ads for Pompeii exhibition

It has been a busy week for the Bay of Naples. There has been lots to report about many of the sites. But this is the most amusing thing I have seen, from the LA Times:

Here is the accompanying article:

Chalk it up to an over-eager marketing team at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
On Wednesday, Roman-style advertisements for the museum's upcoming exhibition "
Pompeii and the Roman Villa" were spotted on sidewalks throughout the city. The sightings were first reported by our friends over at the Curbed LA blog.
Turns out the ads were chalk drawings, some of which depicted the profile of a Roman youth along with the words "Pompeii" and "LACMA." The museum had stenciled 20 such drawings at four locations throughout L.A.
Why this sudden spasm of Banksy-esque propaganda? Barbara Pflaumer, associate vice president of communications at LACMA, said the chalk drawings were part of a guerilla-type campaign to promote the exhibition, which is to open May 3. But she said that the museum rolled out the campaign too early and that it was supposed to coincide with a future street banner campaign.
Whoops! Pflaumer told Curbed LA that the museum has made plans to remove all of the chalk drawings.
Such are the perils when a large, bureaucratic institution tries on a hipper, more youth-friendly persona. Well, points for effort anyway.

And then some poor reader who clearly has too much time on their hands commented on the article:

Poor resource management.It is not their job to create and distribute artworks.They should be collecting, preserving and exhibiting art.
Extra money can be used for more pressing things rather than chalking the sidwalks of LA. Perhaps we should take this to mean that the powers at LACMA support LA's lively street-art scene.

Hmm. Well, I like the chalk drawings. I hope they do some more when the exhibition is about to open.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Siti archeologici aperti a Pasqua e Lunedì in Albis

From the SAP website:
La Soprintendenza speciale per i beni archeologici di Napoli e Pompei comunica che i siti archeologici dei campi Flegrei, di Napoli, dell’area Vesuviana e della penisola sorrentina saranno regolarmente aperti nei giorni di Pasqua, domenica 12 aprile, e di lunedì in Albis, 13 aprile, come da orari consueti.
Nei principali siti in è in corso la manifestazione Archeologia e Natura nella baia di Napoli.Un viaggio nel verde delle aree archeologiche da Cuma, passando per Baia, Pozzuoli e Posillipo fino a Punta Campanella, inclusi i siti di Pompei, Ercolano, Oplontis, la Villa Iovis e la Villa di Damecuta sull’isola di Capri. Grazie al ripristino dei giardini e degli antichi sentieri , operato dalla Soprintendenza,sarà possibile intraprendere un suggestivo itinerario tra natura e archeologia. Il tutto arricchito da spettacoli e letture al tramonto.Per informazioni: 081.8575347 –

Archeologia e Natura nella Baia di Napoli

Archeologia e Natura nella Baia di Napoli (4 aprile-2 giugno)

Letture classiche di Cristina Donadio e Iaia Forte in collaborazione con il Teatro Mercadante

Dall’area Flegrea a Capri, passando per Napoli e Pompei: le aree archeologiche costiere della ‘Baia di Napoli’ fatte di rovine, rocce ed esuberante vegetazione, costituiscono da secoli uno straordinario itinerario storico e naturalistico oggi proposto per la prima volta in dieci emozionanti percorsi e in un unico circuito integrato tra eventi, curiosità, letture classiche e soprattutto scoperte di luoghi mitici riportati all’antico splendore. E in sei sabati, tra aprile e maggio, in collaborazione con il Teatro Stabile Mercadante, le attrici Cristina Donadio e Iaia Forte leggeranno ai visitatori brani classici da Omero, Virgilio, Ovidio, Fedro, Marziale, Petronio. (Source)

Ercolano. Tre secoli di scoperte

The exhibition 'Ercolano. Tre secoli di scoperte' at the Naples Museum was due to close on the 13th April, but will now remain open until 1st June 2009.

Vesuvius on-line, April 2009

The latest Vesuvius On-Line (April 2009) has the following articles:







Nola: Prehistoric village to reopen

This from Informarte:
Dopo sette mesi di chiusura “forzata”, per gli importanti lavori di abbellimento dell’area realizzati dalla Soprintendenza Archeologica di Napoli, che hanno interessato la recinzione esterna ed interna e la scala d’accesso al sito, riapre al pubblico, con la consueta cadenza domenicale (tranne in caso di pioggia) dalle 10.00 alle 13.00, il noto sito archeologico del Villaggio Preistorico di Nola. Con grande soddisfazione dunque l’Associazione Meridies comunica la riapertura al pubblico, a partire da domenica prossima, con una veste molto più degna dell’importanza del luogo, della cosiddetta “Pompei della Preistoria”.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

More on the Getty fragment

David Gill, my colleague from Swansea, has also posted information about the Getty fragment on Looting Matters, along with details of other fragments that seem to have come from the same wall painting. He comments: '[The fragment] will join two other fragments returned to Italy: one from the J. Paul Getty Museum, the other from the Shelby White collection (see my comments from January 2008 with initial reconstruction). A fourth fragment was apparently seized from Giacomo Medici in Geneva. The latest fragment will be returned in May 2009.'
[The arrangement of the fragments has been created by David Gill and is intended to give an impression of the original design. It is not an accurate reconstruction though the fragments are at the same approximate scale. This was originally created in January 2008.]

Getty Returns Fresco Fragment to Italy

As an "employee" of the Getty, I got an email this morning straight from the director himself about this. The press release attached to the email was rather vague, but the LA Times Culture Monster blog found out more about the repatriation of this Pompeii-esque fresco fragment.

To no one's surprise the fresco was a Fleischman donation...

In its latest effort to return wayward ancient artworks to their rightful owners, the J. Paul Getty Museum will send a Roman fresco fragment to Italy. The fragmentary panel, a roughly 36-by-32-inch section of a wall painting made in the third quarter of the 1st century BC, joined the museum's collection in 1996 as a gift of New York collectors Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman.

The museum --- which has returned 39 antiquities to Italy since 2007 -- listed the fragment as "at some risk of forfeiture" and stated its appraised value at the time of donation as $150,000 in a 2005 internal assessment, compiled during an investigation of objects that might have been illegally exported.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Le Pitture Pompeiane

On the 29th April 2009 the galleries of paintings at the Naples Museum will finally re-open to the public. Many paintings have undergone restoration, and the entire collection has been reorganised so that many paintings will be grouped according to their provenance. This is the new arrangement:

Sala LXVI, La tecnica, collects together all the painting that help us to understand how wall decorations were made.
Sala LXVII, La villa di Boscoreale; 71 fragments were removed from this villa when it was excavated. Many will now be displayed (although others, of course, were dispersed to other museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York and elsewhere).
Sala LXVIII, La scoperta delle pitture, displays the oldest paintings excavated from Herculaneum and Pompeii. Many are illustrated in the Antichità di Ercolano esposte; many are unprovenanced. The collection includes paintings from the Basilica and so-called Palaestra of Herculaneum and the House of the Stags, and the Villa of Cicero at Pompeii.
Sala LXIX, La pittura nel I secolo a. C.), most of the Second Style paintings will be here.
Sala LXX, La pittura in età augustea: La villa di Agrippa Postumo. La pittura nella prima età imperiale: La Casa di Giasone. Third style paintings with famous mythological panels. I didn't know before the the Villa of Agrippa Postumus had been reburied by the eruption of Vesuvius in 1906!
Sala LXXI, La pittura nella prima età imperiale. I temi dei quadri e gli elementi decorativi. More Third Style and mythological paintings.
Sala LXXII, La pittura in età imperiale: due case di prestigio. La Casa di Meleagro, La Casa dei Dioscuri. Fourth Style paintings from two famous houses.
Sala LXXIII, La pittura in età imperiale: i temi mitologici. Fourth Style mythological paintings, with the emphasis on narrative rather than heroism.
Sala LXXIV, Nature morte e paesaggi
Sala LXXXV, Pitture di larari
Sala LXXVII, Stabiae – La Villa di Campo Varano.
Otherwise known as the Villa of Ariadne!
Sala LXXVIII, I ritratti – La pittura popolare. Portraits, shop signs, the Julia Felix forum scenes, bar scenes, and the like.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Digital images reveal the secrets of Roman painting

Another press release from the University of Southampton about the Amazon head that was found by the Herculaneum Conservation Project. See my earlier post too. This is what they have to say now:

Cutting-edge imaging techniques are being used in the digital restoration of a 2000-year old Roman statue.
The delicately painted statue, which was discovered in the ancient ruins of Herculaneum in 2006 and believed to depict an Amazon Warrior, is now the subject of a joint restoration project by the University of Southampton, the University of Warwick, and the Herculaneum Conservation Project.
Highly sophisticated digital imaging is vital for the recording, subsequent analysis and restoration of cultural heritage material. Experts in archaeological computing led by Dr Graeme Earl of the
Archaeological Computing Research Group in the School of Humanities, used a novel form of photography – Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM), developed by HP Labs - to provide a detailed record of the texture and colour of the painted surfaces.
A specially-designed
rig, camera structure, and associated custom software was developed in the School of Electronics and Computer Science by Dr Kirk Martinez and the team in the Mechanical Workshop to enable very fast acquisition of PTM data, with variable sample sizes. The rig uses a lightweight tripod running on battery power, making it adaptable enough to use on archaeological sites. The whole kit is highly portable and can be carried in a suitcase. 'It was fascinating to pull together various elements from my imaging research projects in order to solve all the issues for the new rig design,' said Kirk Martinez.
The head of the Amazon Warrior was discovered in 2006 in the ancient ruins of Herculaneum, a town close to Pompeii, which was buried in the AD79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The delicate painting of the statue’s features and its fine state of preservation meant that it was regarded as a landmark discovery by archaeologists, providing clues to the decoration of Roman statues that had previously been only guessed at.
The digital restoration project is an initiative of the Packard Humanities Institute, in collaboration with the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei and the British School at Rome.
‘Our work at Southampton bridges the gap between computing and archaeology in bringing the best that colleagues in engineering, electronics and computer science have to offer to unique artefacts from our past,’ said Dr Earl.
The series of
images (different views are illustrated above) resulting from the scanning process is used to produce a single PTM file via the HP Labs PTM fitter software. The PTM viewer enables a virtual light source to be moved across the virtual scene. The viewer can also vary lighting intensity, add additional virtual lights, derive surface models and to carry out image processing tasks such as edge detection.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Review: Pompeii in Washington

Also in the latest AJA (113.2, April 2009), a review by Michael Koortbojian of Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 19 October 2008–22 March 2009, curated by Carol C. Mattusch, and of the exhibition catalogue (National Gallery of Art, in association with Thames & Hudson, Washington, D.C., and New York 2008).

Article: Production and distribution of pottery at Pompeii, part 2.

This just out:

J. Theodore Peña and Myles McCallum, The Production and Distribution of Pottery at Pompeii: A Review of the Evidence; Part 2, The Material Basis for Production and Distribution. American Journal of Archaeology (113.2, April 2009).

Part 1 (AJA 113 [2009] 57–79) considered the production of pottery. Part 2, the present article, examines the material basis for pottery production at Pompeii (i.e., the availability and use of the raw materials) and its distribution.

2008 bibliography continued …

Melini, R. Suoni sotto la cenere. La musica nell'antica area vesuviana. (Pompei, Flavius, 2008).

Friday, 3 April 2009

In the news this week ...

  • A new museum, the ‘Museo pompeiano del Grand Tour’ will be opened next November on the second floor of the Palazzo de Fusco in modern Pompei. ‘Sarà un contenitore nel quale troveranno posto tutte le testimonianze culturali, dalla letteratura alla musica, dalla pittura alla scultura, alla poesia, alla fotografia e al cinema che dal 1860 a oggi hanno avuto Pompei sacra o archeologica quale tappa del percorso italiano di intellettuali, artisti, scrittori, politici, musicisti e religiosi.’ (Source) The museum is the combined initiative of the Università di Napoli Federico II, the Istituto Universitario Suor Orsola Benincasa and the città di Pompei.

  • A Italian traveler was stopped at Florence airport and found to have ‘reperti archeologici’ from Herculaneum and Torre del Greco in her luggage – eight fragments of fresco from the Villa of the Papyri and Casa Sannitica at Herculaneum and the Villia Storia at Torre del Greco. She may face a fine of 5,000 Euro and 4 years in prison. (Source) More details to follow as and when they emerge …

  • Guns (presumably disposed of by the Camorra) have been pulled from the river Sarno. (Source)

  • Upcoming exhibitions in Campania:
    ‘Alla corte di Vanvitelli’ at the Palace of Caserta (Vanvitelli was the architect who designed the palace and many other buildings for the Bourbons), which starts tomorrow;
    ‘La pittura pompeiana’ at the Museo Nazionale Archeologico at Naples – basically the reopening of all the rooms with frescos (at last!!), which have been newly restored, which opens on 29th April.
    Gemito’ at Villa Pignatelli (work of the sculptor Gemito active at Naples in the 19th century).

Lesser known sites: Villa Sora

Perhaps not everyone knows the site of Villa Sora in Torre del Greco. The villa is another Roman site that was destroyed by the AD79 eruption, and tunnelled by the Bourbons - the most famous find was a statue of a Satyr currently held in Palermo Archaeological Museum. Some of the best frescoes are being held in the storerooms at Herculaneum (the nearest Soprintendenza facility to the site). The villa dates to the first century AD, and presumed to be imperial property given its size and decorative scheme. It would originally have been a three-storey building, but visits only access the middle floor. Nearby there are also the remains of a bath complex.

Visits can be organised for groups through the wonderful Gruppo Archeologico Vesuviano (GAV) who only charge 3 euros per person. The GAV also offer a tour of the historic buildings of Torre del Greco for 4 euros per person. Fill in this form to book a visit.

Electronic resource: "Observations on the Volcanoes of the Two Sicilies"

I've just come across some more interesting digital books on Vesuvius, this time "Campi Phlegraei, Observations on the Volcanoes of the Two Sicilies". The following description is taken from the Claremont Libraries Digital Collections website:

Campi Phlegraei is a firsthand report which documents the late eighteenth century eruptions of Mount Vesuvius. Written by Sir William Hamilton, the British envoy to the Neapolitan royal court in 1764, the work is named for the area around Naples known locally as the Campi Phlegraei or "flaming fields." This name refers to the frequent and violent eruptions of Mount Vesuvius. The area was a popular destination for wealthy travelers undertaking the Grand Tour because of the long history of volcanic activity as well as the classical sites, Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were excavated in 1748 and 1738 respectively.

Hamilton was able to observe the volcano from his arrival in Naples on November 17, 1764, through the eruptions which lasted until October 20, 1767. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society and wrote a series of letters describing the activity of the volcano. The letters were to be read aloud at the Society's meeting and published in its Transactions. The letters make up the text of the Campi Phlegraei. Hamilton engaged the Anglo-Neapolitan artist Peter Fabris to create sketches in situ to illustrate the work. The sketches were reproduced in prints that were hand colored individually by local artists.

Hamilton applied focused attention resulting in a work which is important to the science of volcanology due to the precise descriptions of the changes in the appearance of the volcano, the lava flows and other volcanic activity. The illustrations document the Naples area of the 1700s, aspects of life in Italy of the era, and most importantly, the geological conditions of Mt. Vesuvius and the surrounding terrain.

Volume one of the Campi Phlegraei is predominately text with a single plate and a map. Volume two is predominantly plates with textual descriptions. The third book is a supplement to the original two volume work. The supplement was published in 1779 and describes the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in August 1779. The supplement is composed of letters written to The Royal Society of London and five hand-colored plates illustrating the volcanic activity.

'Sappho' by Jeff Cane

Check out this fabulous 16" hand-made Charger Plate made by Jeff Cane for the upcoming Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibition (Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples, May 3–October 4, 2009 - the same exhibition that has been in Washington DC until recently). Jeff specialises in applying historical images, documents and themes to platters, framed prints, art cards, candles, cement tiles and masonry crosses. You can read more about his work here.

The image on this plate is, of course, the so-called 'Sappho', found in May 1760 in a house of the Insula Occidentalis in Region VI. It was part of a Fourth Style decoration that paired it with the portrait of a man (all the fragments from this wall are about to go on display together in the Naples Museum when the rooms of frescoes reopen in April). The girl wears a golden hairnet and holds a stylus and wax tablet - references to the world of learning and culture. This is one of the most famous wall-paintings from Pompeii, an ideal portrait rather than a depiction of a real girl.

Jeff's Charger is signed and dated & comes with a Sappho poem. I want one!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Roman Archaeology Conference

I am flying out today to Ann Arbor, MI for the Roman Archaeology Conference where I am co-chairing a session and giving a paper.

As you will notice there are no Pompeii-specific sessions at the conference, but there are many papers which touch on material from the Vesuvian region. Almost all the papers in my session address at least a couple of Pompeian houses.

If you are planning on being at the conference, please let me know!

Reaching out to our readers in Spain!

Blogging Pompeii is getting a lot of hits from Spain at the moment, but we don't have any Spanish contributors!

If you are in Spain and working on Pompeii, we would love you to join. Just email me and I will send you an invitation. (You don't have to blog in English!)

Resources: Fondo Amedeo Maiuri

I have been attempting to find out something (anything!) about the ‘Fondo Amedeo Maiuri’, having heard about it at the Herculaneum conference here in Rome the other week. It doesn’t have a website – but I have been able to find out a few things.
Maiuri’s personal archive was acquired from his daughter, Bianca, in 2001 by the Università Suor Orsola Benincasa di Napoli. Today it is housed in the ‘Centro Internazionale per gli Studi Pompeiani’. This is in Scafati, at the Villa Nunziante a Scafati (once known as the Caserma del Polverificio Borbonico). It consists of c. 1200 photos of different format of all the sites that Maiuri was involved with (i.e. Pompeii, Herculaneum, Beneventum, Campi Flegrei and so on). Those of Pompeii date to the 1950s and 60s. Then there is his library of over 3000 books, and a file of letters sent to Maiuri from 23 different correspondents (I have no idea who at present), in addition to conference invitations and the like for the entire period 1911 to 1961, his bibliographical notes, and two manuscripts about Herculaneum. The archive also includes honours awarded to him – medals, diplomas, honorary citizenships! There must be other things too.
I would like to know if any of you have been to the Centro Internazionale, and seen (or worked with) Maiuri’s archive. The Centro website describes the facilities for students of Suor Orsola, but doesn’t mention anything about opening its doors to outsiders. There’s not even a telephone number. Does anyone know anything about this???

Review: Pithecusa: materiali votivi da Monte Vico e dall'area di Santa Restituta

See BMCR 2009.03.59 for review of Lucia Amalia Scatozza Höricht, Pithecusa: materiali votivi da Monte Vico e dall'area di Santa Restituta. Corpus delle stipi votive in Italia. XX. Regio I; 3. (Roma: Giorgio Bretschneider, 2007).

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Following Jeremy’s post the other day I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been checking out (thank you, Jeremy!), and I just want to say how fantastic I think it is. Not just for the Notizie degli Scavi, which will be incredibly useful, but for all the other documents and books that have been put on-line. Here are just a few of the books that you can now read on-line:
Venuti’s Description of the first discoveries of the ancient city of Herculaneum (1750) and Bellicard’s Observations upon the antiquities of the ancient town of Herculaneum (1754);
the letters of Cochin (1751) and Winckelmann (1764) about the earliest excavations;
Hamilton’s Account of the discoveries at Pompeii (1777);
Jorio’s Real Museo Borbonico (1825);
Gell’s Pompeiana (1852);
William Henry Davenport’s Cities of Campania (1872);
Fiorelli’s Descrizione di Pompei (1875);
Mau’s Pompeii. Its Life and Art (1899);
Charles Waldstein’s Herculaneum (1908).

And lots, lots more. In some respects it’s quite a random collection. There is even a podcast of a group of Cardiff-based Dr Who fans discussing the ‘Fires of Pompeii’ episode (which, by the way, has just been nominated for a BAFTA TV Craft award!). But it is fantastic that so many of these publications that up until now we’ve only be able to read in large research libraries are now available on-line. The collection is going to make my (research!) life so much easier when I get back to Swansea in the summer. I am all for digitizing books! (And another aside: the University of Michigan Press has just announced that from now on the majority of its publications will be in digital format).
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