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POMPEII UNCOVERED “The Narrative of Discovery-the dramas of dilletantes, kings, engineers, institutions and academics who scrabbled to unearth a captured.

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Presentation on theme: "POMPEII UNCOVERED “The Narrative of Discovery-the dramas of dilletantes, kings, engineers, institutions and academics who scrabbled to unearth a captured."— Presentation transcript:

1 POMPEII UNCOVERED “The Narrative of Discovery-the dramas of dilletantes, kings, engineers, institutions and academics who scrabbled to unearth a captured glimpse of an ancient Roman landscape.” Pedar W Foss

2 “Together the cities of Vesuvius form the longest continuously excavated archaeological zone in the world- an honour they can never lose and a burden they can never shift.” “Rediscovery has been a continuous process. The sites have become a de facto laboratory for excavation and recording methods, publication standards, conservation and analyses of the entire range of artefacts and ecofacts and cultural resource management.”

3 “The newly found ancient cities were both treasures and stages; full of objets d’art which adorned royal palaces and eventually public museums.”

4 Background History of Italy Dominated by city-states for much of the medieval and Renaissance period, the Italian peninsula also experienced several foreign dominations. Parts of Italy were annexed to the Spanish, the Austrian and Napoleon's empire, while the Vatican maintained control over the central part of it, before the Italian Peninsula was eventually liberated and unified amidst much struggle in the 19th and 20th centuries. The sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum were within the Kingdom of Sicily ruled by the House of Bourbon.

5 History of Excavation 1594-1600 Pompeii is a city whose length of excavation is as long as the city’s existence Domenico Fontana helps to lay out a canal from the Sarno River to Torre Annunziata to provide water to a gunpowder factory there. The tunnel cuts through the old part of the city ( civita, ancient town, Alshdat), revealing many ancient buildings, but the discovery does not reveal the identity of the place and does not encourage further investigation.


7 1710-16 An Austrian General in the service of Charles V1 ( Duc D’Elbeuf) acting on the tip of a local marble worker, excavates in a well shaft at Resina, in order to acquire sculpture for his villa. He discovers a wealth of portraits and busts coming from the now known Theatre of Herculaneum.

8 1738-Herculaneum Charles V11 of Bourbon decides to build a summer palace near Resina. He enlists Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre, a spanish born military engineer to survey the site and meanwhile investigate the local and nearby areas for antiquities. Local knowledge of ancient remains encourages the digging of 20m shafts, threatened constantly by lethal vapours and collapse. The most substantial discovery is now known as the Villa of Papyri. Two months later the work is handed over to a Swiss officer named Karl Weber, an engineer who also has a background in languages and architecture. His background essentially qualified him as the first archaeologist; ability to supervise large numbers of men moving large quantities of earth, careful reports of notable finds and the safe conveyance to the palace. Weber was also able to make highly accurate architectural plans of the finds and interpret their meaning. In 1755 King Charles establishes a Royal Academy to oversee publications of the excavations and work continues intermittently at Herculaneum till 1780


10 1748 Excavation begins at Pompeii under the mistaken belief that it is the ancient city of Stabiae and because the layers of ash and lapilli are easier to excavate that Herculaneum Alcubierre writes; “ This morning the workmen have come across a dead man amongst the ash and the earth, discovered with 18 bronze coins and one silver coin.” This is the first victim discovered Work continues sporadically with the use of local workman, chained convicts and forced labor captured from Barbary ships. Paderni, curator of the Royal museum, selects the best paintings discovered for the museum and destroys the rest. The excavated buildings are refilled when they have been stripped. Proof of the towns identity comes in 1863 with the discovery of an inscription REI PUBLICAE POMPEIANORUM Within a month the practice of refilling is stopped and the town begins to be exposed to the air

11 1758 Johann Joachim Winckelmann makes the first of 4 visits over 10 years in his capacity as correspondent for the court of Augustus 111 at Dresden. Often called the Father of Archaeology because of his learning and writing he is hindered in his site inspection snd in 2 detailed letters complains about mismanagenent and secrecy of excavation. Winckelmann makes Pompeii and Herculaneum the most popular topic of conversation across Europe

12 1765 Francesco la Vega takes over on site direction after Alcubierres death until 1804 when his brother Pietro succeeds him Francesco leaves excavated buildings unearthed but makes efforts to preaerve anything in situ not removed to the museum.. He also pursues Webers idea of the importance of context, documentation and preservation. He was the first to keep an excavation diary. However exposure to the elements and increasing memento hungry visitors takes a serious toll. Excavation alternates between the Triangular Forum and the temple of Isis, the Odeon, the Gladiator Barracks, and the northwest corner near the gate of Ercolano

13 1808 Arditi and Bonucci begin a renewed excavation aided by the funding for a workforce of more than 1500 provided by Caroline, sister of Napoleon Bonaparte and Queen of NAPLES. Under the french the entire circuit of walls is revealed. Workman clear portions of the Forum Area and the Amphitheatre Clearance is rapid but haults soon after Waterloo when Bourbon Kings regain control Pompeii becomes part of the Grand European tour and an inspiration for art to revive the past Work also recommences at Herculaneum in 1828. Open air excavation is undertaken for the first time, uncovering streets, houses, shops and baths intermittently until 1875

14 Pompeii and the Grand Tour “It was a quaint and curious pastime, wandering through this old silent city of the dead—lounging through utterly deserted streets where thousands and thousands of human beings once bought and sold, and walked and rode, and made the place resound with the noise and confusion of traffic and pleasure. They were not lazy. They hurried in those days. We had evidence of that.” Mark Twain 1875

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