Pompeii Part 5: Investigating the past


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Pompeii Part 5: Investigating the past

  1. 1. HSC ANCIENT HISTORY CORE STUDY Cities of Vesuvius: Pompeii & Herculaneum
  2. 2. PART 5: INVESTIGATING RECONSTRUCTING & PRESERVING THE PAST <ul><li>Archaeology of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 19th and 20th Centuries </li></ul><ul><li>Changing Interpretations of the sites: New research and Technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Conservation and Reconstruction </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical Issues </li></ul>
  3. 3. 1. 19 th & 20 th Century Archaeology <ul><li>From 1860 – 1960, Pompeii archaeology came under the leadership of such men as Giuseppe Fiorelli, Spinazzola and Maiuri. </li></ul><ul><li>All served to create a more systematic and scientific approach to excavation in Pompeii. </li></ul><ul><li>No longer was it acceptable for archaeologists to focus only on precious objects and beautiful paintings (treasure hunting). </li></ul>
  4. 4. Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875) <ul><li>Innovative excavator who introduced a lot of new approaches to the archaeological site of Pompeii – </li></ul><ul><li>“ pioneer of modern archaeological world”: </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Fiorelli’s Achievements: </li></ul><ul><li>A uniform numbering and naming system by dividing the topography of the site into 9 regions. </li></ul><ul><li>A more systematic approach to excavation – unlike the haphazard digging his predecessors engaged in. </li></ul><ul><li>Implemented a system of slowly uncovering the houses from the top down, collecting data to help restore the ancient buildings and the interiors and gain a better understanding of the process of burial. </li></ul>Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875)
  6. 6. <ul><li>Most important discovery – recognition of the significance of cavities in the deposits of hardened ash as impression of the victim’s bodies > process of casting still used today in an updated form. </li></ul><ul><li>Fiorelli poured liquid plaster into the body-shape cavities from the ash/pumice of the volcano and left it to set > eventually, he then chipped away the lava to reveal an accurate plaster cast of what had been buried beneath the volcanic material – capturing the moment of death and burial. </li></ul>Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875)
  7. 11. <ul><li>New system for recording the work in progress. Day books and diaries and such were employed as to keep a track of progress </li></ul><ul><li>Shift in approach to the antiquities of Pompeii – by attempting to focus on its overall history rather then on individual objects, buildings and art. </li></ul><ul><li>7. Opened up a school of archaeology in Pompeii. </li></ul><ul><li>By the time he was promoted to the position of Director General of Antiquities throughout Italy in 1875, 3/5’s of the site had been excavated. </li></ul><ul><li>Those who followed Fiorelli in the last years of the 19th and early 20th century faithfully carried on his approach > systematic and careful not to damage potentially valuable artefacts. </li></ul>Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875)
  8. 12. Vittorio Spinazzola (1910-1923) <ul><li>Focused on the 600 metre main road </li></ul><ul><li>Metalicious excavation method showed how the buildings along the main east – west street had been buried and allowed him to reconstruct their facades as fully as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Criticised because focusing on unearthing the frontages only, he had to shore them up to prevent them from collapsing from the weight of the earth behind. </li></ul><ul><li>By the time of his retirement - “The towns most important business artery had been cleared over almost its entire length” </li></ul>
  9. 13. Amedeo Maiuri (1924-1961) <ul><li>Has been described as the most productive, determined and controversial director in the history of excavations. </li></ul>
  10. 14. <ul><li>Achievements: </li></ul><ul><li>Continued the work of Spinazzola along the main road </li></ul><ul><li>Excavated / uncovered many areas including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>House of Menander </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the area behind the Triangular forum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the House of Julia Felix </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the Necropolis outside the Nucerian Gate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Completed the work on the Villa of Mysteries </li></ul><ul><li>Deepened the excavations to investigate pre-Roman level </li></ul><ul><li>Restored public buildings such as the Basilica </li></ul><ul><li>Supervised the re-opening of the excavation at Herculaneum </li></ul><ul><li>Discovered the House of the Bi-centenary in Herculaneum – the towns largest and richest residence </li></ul>Amedeo Maiuri (1924-1961)
  11. 15. <ul><li>Maiuri believed the rich and patricians left the city after 62 AD earthquake and retreated to country estates. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, to Maiuri – Pompeii had been in decline for the last 17 years. Maintained the Forum was still in shambles when Vesuvius erupted </li></ul><ul><li>Despite all this, there have been criticisms levelled at Maiuri for both his methodology and conclusions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Much of his excavation in 1951 – 61 was rushed – lack of restorative measures undertaken for buildings and lack of documentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>His 1933 publication regarding the House of Menander lacks scientific detail; descriptive rather then analytical. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>His interpretation of the social and economic transformation of Pompeii after the earthquake was based, according to Wallace-Hadrill, upon false assumptions and questionable evidence – Hadrill claims that whilst there is some truth, his “model is far too rigid” </li></ul></ul>Amedeo Maiuri (1924-1961)
  12. 16. Developments in the 2nd half of the 20th Century <ul><li>By the late 1950’s and 60’s Pompeii in bad shape > natural and human elements causing destruction. </li></ul><ul><li>Archaeological efforts since the 1970’s have been motivated by the urgent need to protect and preserve. </li></ul>
  13. 17. Developments in the 2nd half of the 20th Century <ul><li>To address the inherent problems facing Pompeii conservation, three programs were implemented: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Italian Central Institute for Cataloguing undertook a complete documentation of 18,000 photographs of all painted walls and mosaic floors. Unfortunately, this represented less then 20% of all that has been revealed on the site. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NEAPOLIS was established – a vast electronic database of all archival documents and archaeological remains. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The first accurate map of the site was produced using improvements in the process of making surveys and maps from photos </li></ul></ul>
  14. 18. <ul><li>Long-Term site investigation and documentation projects </li></ul><ul><li>The Houses in Pompeii Project </li></ul><ul><li>Specifically aimed to investigate and salvage buildings which had been excavated in previous centuries but yet to be recorded. It involved heavy Australian participation in the 70’s / 80’s. </li></ul><ul><li>The Insula of Menander Project </li></ul><ul><li>The projects aim was to redress the deficiencies in the earlier records of this particular insulae conducted under Amedeo Maiuri between 1927 – 1933; there being a lack of documentation present for this Insula. </li></ul><ul><li>The Pompeian Forum Project </li></ul><ul><li>Ongoing, started in 1988. Aims to produce more accurate plans of surviving remains in the forum using new computer technologies (AutoCAD). </li></ul>Developments in the 2nd half of the 20th Century
  15. 19. 2. New Research and Technologies <ul><li>International co-operation and recent work from 1980 – 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>International co-operation has developed in recent times with such projects as the “House of Pompeii” and “House of the ancient Hunt” excavations. </li></ul><ul><li>The Anglo-American project in Region 6 of Pompeii was a full investigation of a complete town Insulae in 1994 – aim was to increase our understanding of the social and economic life of the urban community. </li></ul><ul><li>Villa of Papyri at Herculaneum - 1996-1998 rooms cleared and many more objects were found. This prompted calls for a thorough and definitive excavation of the villa > possibility of unearthing new scrolls. </li></ul><ul><li>Villa Moregine discovered in 2000; a large structure outside Pompeian city walls “ </li></ul>
  16. 20. Impact of new technology <ul><li>Deciphering Papyri </li></ul><ul><li>1,800 carbonized papyrus scrolls in Villa of Papyri </li></ul><ul><li>The problems of opening, unrolling and reading the fragile papyri </li></ul><ul><li>In recent years renewed efforts to decipher scrolls: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer enhancement of text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital imaging used to extract images from the scrolls and uncover text that is not visible to human eye. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pattern image recognition and medical imaging techniques might allow the future deciphering of scrolls without unrolling them. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 21. <ul><li>Human Remains </li></ul><ul><li>Estelle Lazer and the skeletons of Pompeii </li></ul><ul><li>Many discoveries of human remains at Pompeii. </li></ul><ul><li>Since 1986 Estelle Lazer worked on a sample of over 300 individuals – skeletons stored in the female section of the Forum baths. </li></ul><ul><li>The techniques of forensic medicine and physical anthropology were used to determine sex, age-at-death, height, health and population affinities of the victims – shedding light on many aspects of Pompeian life. </li></ul><ul><li>The use of x-ray technology has also been introduced – first used in Australia 1994. Specifically, used to examine the female skeleton, the Lady of Oplontis. </li></ul><ul><li>This examination demonstrated the value of this technology – allowing for careful extraction of details and the minimizing of destruction of human remains. </li></ul>Impact of new technology
  18. 22. <ul><li>Human Remains </li></ul><ul><li>The Skeletons of Herculaneum </li></ul><ul><li>Sara Bisel closely examined the 139 skeletons from the beachfront since 1982. </li></ul><ul><li>She concluded that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Low birth rate – believe abortion may have been present </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There was a wide diverse genetic inheritance of this population </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evidence for childhood malnutrition and gum disease. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Widespread lead poisoning – due to use of lead in everyday objects eg. Cups </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A very detailed study of 162 skeletons from Herculaneum was published in 2001 by Lugi Capasso > showed that the people of Pompeii were in good health during their bone growth period. </li></ul><ul><li>The human skeletal remains from Herculaneum are in a much better state of preservation then those of Pompeii because they were more carefully excavated and documented. </li></ul><ul><li>Recent study has shown that the people died from exposure to extreme heat, rather than asphyxiation. </li></ul>Impact of new technology
  19. 23. Bodies from the boathouse at Herculaneum
  20. 24. Vittorio De Girolamo works to free a soldier from his volcanic tomb
  21. 25. “ The Second Death of Pompeii” <ul><li>There is a well known saying that “to dig is to destroy” – this applies particularly to Pompeii. </li></ul><ul><li>For 200 years the remains of Pompeii have been subjected to a whole range of destructive forces - eg. war, pollution, overgrowth of plants, tourism. </li></ul><ul><li>By 1957 almost 1/3 of wall paintings had faded completely with none ever having being recorded. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1986 Henri de Saint-Blanquet declared Pompeii was an “archaeological disaster” </li></ul><ul><li>Pompeii and Herculaneum two of the world’s most endangered cultural sites </li></ul>
  22. 26. <ul><li>Some Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Shifting focus on the preservation of Pompeii for future generations </li></ul><ul><li>Early efforts to conserve Pompeii led to later destruction, eg: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of softwood to restore doorways has resulted in rotting, mould and termites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The application of modern mortars and wax to frescoes has resulted in irreversible damage. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Protective awnings have fallen, so frescoes left in their original position are now exposed to sun/rain, therefore become damaged. </li></ul><ul><li>Estimated 300 million US dollars to bring Pompeii & Herculaneum “up to acceptable levels of conservation and readiness for tourism”. </li></ul><ul><li>Illicit trade in antiquities is a major problem </li></ul><ul><li>Over 3 million tourists visit each year - puts great strain on the sites and contributes to a great deal of wear and tear. </li></ul><ul><li>Almost impossible to stop vandalism </li></ul>“ The Second Death of Pompeii”
  23. 27. <ul><li>Preservation refers to the total protection from harmful and damaging factors. </li></ul><ul><li>Example - the closure of streets & buildings to protect against the effects of excessive tourism </li></ul><ul><li>Restoration refers to any process which contributes to enhancing the visual or functional understanding of an object or building. </li></ul><ul><li>Example - restored garden in the House of the Faun at Pompeii </li></ul><ul><li>Conservation is the action of safeguarding the objects and structures which are in potential danger of degradation. </li></ul><ul><li>Example – Roof built over a workshop to protect wall paintings. </li></ul>Preservation, Restoration and Conservation
  24. 28. <ul><li>Replicas </li></ul><ul><li>Replicas can be used to make objects and structures more understandable and also as an alternative to restoring the original – it may, however, be flawed due to the interpretation and subjective nature of the replicator. </li></ul><ul><li>The increasing implementation of technology can help with this – digital imaging can manipulate and enhance an image of the original object and also test potential approaches to reconstruction and restoration. </li></ul>Preservation, Restoration and Conservation
  25. 29. <ul><li>Human Remains </li></ul><ul><li>Should human remains be excavated and displayed? </li></ul><ul><li>Some questions raised in this ethical debate include: </li></ul><ul><li>Should bones be seen solely as artefacts that provide valuable information? </li></ul><ul><li>Should our view of human remains be a function of the age of the remains? </li></ul><ul><li>Should archaeologists have the freedom to pursue knowledge and scientific enquiry without political and legal pressures? </li></ul><ul><li>Who should have custodianship over human remains? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the most appropriate way to store and display human remains? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the interests of the scientific community override the wishes of the living relatives or direct descendants of the remains? </li></ul>Ethical Issues
  26. 30. <ul><li>Ownership and the International traffic in antiquities </li></ul><ul><li>Treasure seeking, souvenir hunting and looting has been rife at Pompeii and Herculaneum. </li></ul><ul><li>Along with this, there has always been a lucrative antiquities black market – today it is a big business. </li></ul><ul><li>The growing demands in this market are eroding archaeological heritage </li></ul><ul><li>Needs to be international co-operation to effectively respond to this problem. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2004, Italian government shocked archaeologists by proposing to legalise the private ownership of remains and archaeological treasures in Italy > allowing treasure hunters to own them if they pay the state 5% of the objects estimated value. </li></ul><ul><li>This has been called it a “slap in the face” for those who worked for the conservation of heritage in Pompeii and Herculaneum. </li></ul><ul><li>Archaeological objects are a non-renewable resource and their protection should be the responsibility of everyone – once they have left the country of origin, however, proving that they have been stolen is difficult. </li></ul>Ethical Issues