Tuesday 30 December 2014

Newspaper article: Perché difendo la chiusura di Pompei a Capodanno

Interesting point of view of Tommaso Montanari, published two days ago in Repubblica, about the most probable closing of Pompei and  Ercolano, on new year's day: 

"Il British Museum chiude il 24, 25, 26 dicembre e il Venerdì Santo. Il Metropolitan di New York è chiuso a Natale e a Capodanno, oltre che nel giorno del Ringraziamento e il primo lunedì di maggio. Si potrebbe continuare a lungo: notando anche che moltissimi grandi musei del mondo chiudono anche un giorno ogni settimana (il Louvre di martedì), mentre Pompei è aperta sempre, 362 giorni all'anno.
Insomma, dall'elenco dei mille veri scandali del povero patrimonio culturale italiano possiamo depennare almeno questa polemichetta natalizia, tristanzuola e provinciale. La netta sensazione è che anche in questo caso abbia colpito la proverbiale pigrizia della macchina italiana dell'informazione: lo "scandalo Pompei" è ormai diventato come le "bombe d'acqua", il "bollino rosso" sui giorni del rientro e altri topoi di larghissimo consumo. Luoghi comuni che ci sollevano dall'ingrato compito di pensare. E invece si parla pochissimo del fatto che a Pompei sono appena state riaperte dodici domus, e che finalmente funziona la governance formata dal generale Giovanni Nistri, a capo del Grande Progetto, e da Massimo Osanna, a capo della Soprintendenza Speciale".

More here.

Monday 29 December 2014

Guilty thieves return ancient objects to Pompeii

Preservation of the ancient city of Pompeii has received a welcome boost from guilty thieves who have returned artefacts they stole from the popular tourism attraction.
In October, a Canadian woman made headlines around the world when she personally returned to hand back a 2,000-year old fragment she had stolen from Pompeii on her honeymoon 50 years ago.

The woman from Montreal, who is in her 70s, said the theft of the first century AD terracotta roof decoration had weighed on her conscience for decades.

Now Massimo Osanna, superintendent of the World Heritage-listed site, said that was not an isolated case and hundreds of archeological artefacts had been sent back to the museum in recent years, often with letters of apology written in different languages.

"We have been receiving hundreds of packages with hundreds of fragments now for years," Mr Osanna told the Italian daily, Il Messaggero.

"People write expressing regret, having realised they have made a terrible mistake and that they would never do it again and for this reason they are sending the stolen pieces back.

"But the most curious thing, from an anthropological point of view, are the letters that accompany the stolen fragments which reveal a cross-section of people worth studying."

Mr Osanna said that one particular fresco fragment that had been returned was crucial in the restoration of the Casa del Frutteto, or house of the orchard keeper, which collapsed in the 1980s.

He said the property was restored but after work was completed experts realised a piece of wall plaster was missing. He said it was returned to officials in March and would now be added.

Mr Osanna could not be contacted on Tuesday but said he would like to stage an exhibition to showcase the precious objects that had been returned.

Alessandro Pintucci, president of the Italian Confederation of Archeologists, welcomed the return of artefacts but warned more security was needed to protect valuable cultural sites and to prevent thefts where there were often too few controls.

From the Archaeology News Network

Sunday 21 December 2014

Buon Natale e auguri per un felice anno nuovo a tutti

Seasons greetings to all our collaborators, photographers, emailers and users all over the world.

Next year we will be moving back to the northern hemisphere, either UK or Italy, so this will be our last dry, hot and sunny (39degC) Christmas in Australia. We are looking forward to next Christmas, spent in Italy, with warm rain.

We wish the best in 2015 for a successful year for everyone at Pompeii.

Jackie and Bob at pompeiiinpictures




Tuesday 16 December 2014

Book: Römisches Zaumzeug aus Pompeji, Herculaneum und Stabiae

Just out, this book about bridles:
SIMON, Christina, 2014. Römisches Zaumzeug aus Pompeji, Herculaneum und Stabiae. Metallzäume, Trensen und Kandaren. Oxford : Archaeopress. Archaeopress Roman Archaeology, 1. ISBN 9781784910341. £ 36.
Few regions possess so many and mainly complete Roman bridles as do the Vesuvian sites. Singular find conditions permit both comprehensive antiquarian-historian analyses of their production, functionality, and everyday use and new approaches to their typology and chronology. The 103 catalogued specimens belong to four types of bronze headstalls, namely metallic noseband, bitless metal bridle (« hackamore »), multipartite metallic bridle (« metallic halter »), and muzzle as well as two types of bits, namely snaffle bit with circular cheekpieces and curb bit. All of them occurred in more or less numerous variants of local or provincial origin. Special attention is paid to the reconstruction of application methods and combinations of types as well as the replica of a snaffle bit with circular cheekpieces. Bitless metal bridles followed Greek models, multipartite metallic bridles Celtiberian ones and, in combination with Thracian or Italian curb bits, formed typical military bridles. All Campanian finds came from civilian contexts such as luxury villae, villae rusticae, urban houses, and workshops. Thanks to find circumstances they can be attributed to draught animals, beasts of burden or mounts (horse, donkey, mule) which also showed up in stables and skeletal remains.
Editor's site here.

Thursday 11 December 2014

News: Ministerial comments on the state of Pompeii

Two articles that cover statements made by the Ministro di beni culturali e turismo, Dario Franceschini, during yesterday's 'Question Time' in the Camera:

Pompei: question time sugli Scavi. Il ministro: «Il piano procede, lavoriamo anche per area circostante» 
A Pompei "si sta lavorando in tutti i modi e con tutte le risorse disponibili per restare nei termini fissati secondo l'action plan, che consentono di spendere le risorse entro la fine del 2015". Lo ha detto il ministro di beni culturali e turismo Dario Franceschini rispondendo oggi al Question Time a una interrogazione di Rocco Palese, deputato Fi-Pdl. Nella sua risposta Franceschini ha premesso che i 105 milioni della Ue "non chiudono definitivamente, come qualcheduno superficialmente può immaginare, il problema di Pompei".
Read the full article here.

Pompei: Franceschini fa i 'conti' sugli scavi

Finora sono stati spesi 4 milioni di euro di fondi europei per il Grande Progetto Pompei. Lo ha detto il ministro per i beni culturali e il Turismo, Dario Franceschini, nel corso del question time alla Camera. “A questo momento – ha spiegato- la spesa effettiva è di quattro milioni di euro che è superiore ai 2,3 milioni di euro previsti dall’Action Plan del 17 luglio. Ci sono stati bandi al lordo dei ribassi per 90,2 milioni di euro. Si sono conclusi progetti per un valore, sempre al lordo dei ribassi, per 52,4 milioni di euro. C’è una struttura guidata dal generale Nistri e dalla Soprintendenza Speciale che sta lavorando in tutti i modi, e con tutte le risorse disponibili, per restare nei termini fissati dall’Action Plan che consentono di spendere le risorse entro la fine del 2015″. Franceschini ha però ricordato che “questa è una parte del progetto Pompei. Gli interventi, conclusi anche nei termini, lasceranno comunque l’esigenza di un cantiere perennemente aperto. La sola manutenzione, in un’area di quel tipo, richiede interventi e fondi continui.
Read more here.

Book review: Ancient vandalism?

Review in the TLS by Emily Gower of Kristina Milnor's GRAFFITI AND THE LITERARY LANDSCAPE IN ROMAN POMPEII (336pp. Oxford University Press. £70 (US $125). 978 0 19 968461 8)

'When Pompeii was rediscovered in the eighteenth century, no one was particularly interested in the rash of graffiti scratched on its walls. Excavators at the time were too busy carting away bulky and aesthetically pleasing works of art as trophies for the Bourbon kings. It was not until the mid-nineteenth century, and the advent of “romantic” archaeology, that one open-minded director, Francesco Maria Avellino, had the foresight to start conserving these fragile, less prestigious relics, thousands of which still survive, either in situ or detached with their original plaster. Other early enthusiasts included Chateaubriand and Bishop Wordsworth, both of whom recognized the “primitive” appeal of the insignificant-looking scrawls and their power to safeguard the noisy, if sometimes indecorous, opinions of Pompeii’s dramatically silenced inhabitants: the trials of school (“If Cicero pains you, you’ll get a flogging”), the pangs of love (“Rufus loves Cornelia”), threats (“Beware of shitting here”), electioneering (“Cuspius for aedile”) and insults (“Narcissus is a giant cocksucker”).'
Read the full review here.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Reconstructions of Villa dei Misteri and the Villa of Fannius Synistor

These reconstructions by Stanton Abbott Associates have been circulating on Twitter for a while, but I thought I'd post them in case anyone has missed them. They are pretty awesome.

The Villa of Fannius Synistor (reconstruction by Stanton Abbott and Bettina Bergmann):

More images can be seen here. They were created for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Villa of the Mysteries (reconstruction by Stanton Abbott and Elaine Gazda):
More images can be seen here. The purpose of this reconstruction was to 'investigate the relationship of the Triclinium, the famous dining room at the villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii, Italy, to its setting within its gardens and its extensive views. The room itself is still relatively intact but is now shut off from exterior light in order to preserve the wonderful murals inside. The series of reconstructed views try to give some notion of its opening into the landscape and its dayight and evening.'

Sunday 7 December 2014

Book: Mosaici antichi in Italia. Regione prima. Ercolano

Recently out:
GUIDOBALDI, Federico, GRANDI, Monica, PISAPIA, Maria Stella, BALZANETTI, Roberta et BIGLIATI, Annalisa, 2014. Mosaici antichi in Italia. Regione prima. Ercolano. Pisa - Roma : Fabrizio Serra Editore. ISBN 9788862275651.
Ad oggi, ancora non disponevamo di un repertorio analitico dei pavimenti e dei rivestimenti parietali (non pittorici) di Ercolano. I due volumi che qui si presentano (con ricco apparato grafico in bianco/nero e a colori) vogliono colmare questa lacuna: essi raccolgono i pavimenti in cementizio, in mosaico e in opus sectile e i rivestimenti parietali musivi e marmorei; propongono un inquadramento tipologico del materiale, finalizzato alla strutturazione di schemi cronologici applicabili, di riflesso, alle strutture di pertinenza. Questo lavoro offre quindi un panorama estremamente vario per tipologia e per qualità intrinseca dei singoli manufatti, utile non solo alla conoscenza dell’antica Ercolano ma a tutti gli studi sui rivestimenti pavimentali e parietali di età romana.
More info here
To my mind, sadly, the price remains definitely out of reach for most libraries: paperback/ electronic version: 680€; hardback: 780€.

Thursday 4 December 2014

Review articles: Journal of Roman Archaeology, volume 27, 2014

The Journal of Roman Archaeology is out for a month or so and now arrives in libraries. Many reviews interesting the Vesuvian area:

EMMERSON, Allison L. C., 2014. A modern excavation of four tomb precincts at Pompeii. Journal of Roman Archaeology. 2014. Vol. 27, pp. 592–595. DOI 10.1017/S1047759414001573.
Review of WILLIAM VAN ANDRINGA, HENRI DUDAY et SÉBASTIEN LEPETZ, MOURIR À POMPÉI: FOUILLE D’UN QUARTIER FUNÉRAIRE DE LA NÉCROPOLE ROMAINE DE PORTA NOCERA (2003-2007) (Collection de l’École française de Rome 468, 2013). 2 vols., pp. 1452, many figs. ISBN 978-2-7283-0913-9. EUR. 540.
JUNKELMANN, Marcus, 2014. Two museum exhibitions on gladiators. Journal of Roman Archaeology. 2014. Vol. 27, pp. 589–591. DOI 10.1017/S1047759414001561.
Review of ROSELLA REA (Curator) and RAINER VOLLKOMMER (Hrgg.), GLADIATOREN UND KOLOSSEUM. HELDEN UND ARCHITEKTUR IM DIENST DER MÄCHTIGEN / GLADIATORS AND THE COLOSSEUM. HEROES AND ARCHITECTURE IN THE SERVICE OF THE POWERFUL (Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum, Vaduz 2013). Pp. 125 [all texts in both German and English], 85 photos in colour. ISBN 978-3-9524259-0-9. CHF 24. HARALD MELLER, VALERIA SAMPAOLO, LUIGIA MELILLO (Hrgg.), GLADIATOR. TÄGLICH DEN TOD VOR AUGEN / LOOKING ON DEATH EVERY DAY. Juraj Lipták mit Texten von Esaù Dozio und Konstanze Eckert, Die Gladiatorenwaffen von Pompeji in Aufnahmen / The gladiatorial armour from Pompeii in photographs (Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt, Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Halle 2013; Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Darmstadt 2014). Pp. 248 [all texts in both German and English], 138 photographs in colour, 21 figs., 1 map. ISBN 978-3-8053-4787-7. EUR. 39,95.
MARTIN, Archer, 2014. A new typology for Campanian Orange Ware and questions of manufacture and dating. Journal of Roman Archaeology. 2014. Vol. 27, pp. 602–606. DOI 10.1017/S1047759414001603.
Review of JAYE McKENZIE-CLARK, VESUVIAN SIGILLATA AT POMPEII (Archaeological Monographs of the British School at Rome 20; London 2012). Pp. xi + 162, including 32 figs. and 4 colour pls. with CD inside back pocket. ISBN 978 0 904152-62-3. £19.95.
OLSON, Kelly, 2014. The material world of the Roman fullo. Journal of Roman Archaeology. 2014. Vol. 27, pp. 596–598. DOI 10.1017/S1047759414001585.
MIKO FLOHR, THE WORLD OF THE FULLO. WORK, ECONOMY, AND SOCIETY IN ROMAN ITALY (Oxford Studies on the Roman Economy; Oxford University Press 2013). Pp. xviii + 401, figs. 137, plans 22. ISBN 978-0-19-965935-7.
SEWELL, J., 2014. Rethinking the Etruscan atrium house. Journal of Roman Archaeology. 2014. Vol. 27, pp. 509–512. DOI 10.1017/S1047759414001408.
Review of VINCENT JOLIVET, TRISTES PORTIQUES. SUR LE PLAN CANONIQUE DE LA MAISON ÉTRUSQUE ET ROMAINE DES ORIGINES AU PRINCIPAT D’AUGUSTE (VIe-Ier siècles av. J.-C.) (Bibliothèque des Ecoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome fasc. 342, 2011). Pp. x + 343, figs. 171 including colour. ISBN 978-2-7283-0875-0.
WALLACE-HADRILL, Andrew, 2014. Microhistories of Roman trade. Journal of Roman Archaeology. 2014. Vol. 27, pp. 584–588. DOI 10.1017/S104775941400155X.
Review of  NICHOLAS TRAN , DOMINUS TABERNAE . LE STATUT DE TRAVAIL DES ARTISANS ET DES COMMERÇANTS DE L’OCCIDENT ROMAIN (Ier siècle av. J.-C – IIIe siècle ap. J.-C.) (Bibliothèque des Ecoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome, fasc. 360; 2013). Pp. viii + 416, figs. 40. ISBN 978-2-7283-0956-6. EUR 45. NICOLAS MONTEIX , LES LIEUX DE MÉTIER. BOUTIQUES ET ATELIERS D’HERCULANUM (Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome, fasc. 344; Collection du Centre Jean Bérard 34; Ecole française de Rome 2010 [2011]). Pp. xiv + 478, figs. 228, dépliants hors-texte 9. ISBN 978-2-7283-0891-0. EUR. 75,00.
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