Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Pompeii in Current World Archaeology

As you know from the previous post, Sarah and I have an article in the new edition of Current World Archaeology, entitled 'What's new in Pompeii.' It's not about what's 'new' in the sense of 'new discoveries', it's about new approaches to studying Pompeii and its neighbours that have been informed by the current conservation problems at the site. The main idea is to highlight how scholars working at sites in the Bay of Naples are trying to record evidence before it disappears, to examine old evidence in new ways, to record and preserve lesser known sites, and to engage the local community in their efforts. It is intended to be an up-beat piece that features some of the positive initiatives taking place on site.

Obviously we were only able to cover a few projects, and our text was also cut by the CWA editors (if anyone wants to see the original piece before the cuts, they should email me). But the publication of the article is a good opportunity to start a wider discussion about conservation and archaeology. We'd like to hear your thoughts about how conservation issues have influenced your work, or about approaches you think could be successfully adopted by others. What are you doing that others could learn from? Or what do you want to know about the way the others are working on site or in the archives? How do you see the relationship between archaeology and conservation? And what do you think the future holds for Pompeii and the other sites?

Sarah and I would welcome any thoughts, observations or comments, and we hope that as many of you as possible will take part in this discussion.

P.S. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds it hard to imagine Sarah as a sidekick!


lablaidlaw said...

I would like suggestions about how to handle dealing with and fixing the disintegration of the modern roofing on the C. di Sallustio (VI 2, 4), where I have been working for over 50 years. It got reroofed from 1970-72, using many of the ancient techniques -- large wooden beams for the compluviate roof, and walls built up with opus mixtum. The outside contractor also used some metal, and presently, the whole roofing system leaks like a sieve when it rains and is rapidly degenerating, with the metal parts rusted to the point where the authorities have closed off some of the roofed rooms for safety. I don't know whom to go to, in order to get the poor house fixed before the whole roof collapses. It's a MAJOR restoration job, but I fear for the First Style paintings that will be destroyed when that roof falls in.
Any suggestions of whom to contact, or how to go about saving the house would be gratefully received (I have horror photos from 3 years ago when it was raining, and can document a lot of the problems).

Anne Laidlaw

Jo Berry said...

I don't know about how to go about getting the work done in the House of Sallust, but I wonder if the SANP would undertake the needed work if you could pay for it. I've been interested recently in the phenomenon of 'crowdfunding'. There are now a couple of archaeological projects that are funded solely by public donations. Check out http://middlesavagery.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/fundraising-the-sound-of-a-ducks-feet/ and https://electricarchaeologist.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/crowdfunding-archaeology-ancient-roman-dna-project/
I recently read too that one of the Occupy protestors was funding his involvement in the same way.
Given the interest in conservation/decay expressed in the media, I wonder if lots of people could be persuaded to donate money for a specific restoration project, particularly if we could get it some publicity? But there's almost no point trying unless you could get the agreement of the SANP in advance. Do you think they might go for such an idea?

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