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HSC ANCIENT HISTORY CORE STUDY Cities of Vesuvius: Pompeii & Herculaneum
PART 5: INVESTIGATING RECONSTRUCTING & PRESERVING THE PAST Archaeology of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 19th and 20th Centuries Changing Interpretations of the sites: New research and Technologies Conservation and Reconstruction Ethical Issues
1. 19 th  & 20 th  Century Archaeology  From 1860 – 1960, Pompeii archaeology came under the leadership of such men as Giuseppe Fiorelli, Spinazzola and Maiuri.  All served to create a more systematic and scientific approach to excavation in Pompeii.  No longer was it acceptable for archaeologists to focus only on precious objects and beautiful paintings (treasure hunting).
Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875) Innovative excavator who introduced a lot of new approaches to the archaeological site of Pompeii –  “ pioneer of modern archaeological world”:
Fiorelli’s Achievements: A uniform numbering and naming system by dividing the topography of the site into 9 regions. A more  systematic approach to excavation  – unlike the haphazard digging his predecessors engaged in. 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. Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875)
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.  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. Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875)
 
 
 
 
New system for recording the work in progress. Day books and diaries and such were employed as to keep a track of progress Shift in approach to the antiquities of Pompeii – by attempting to  focus on its overall history  rather then on individual objects, buildings and art. 7.  Opened up a school of archaeology in Pompeii. 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.  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.  Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875)
Vittorio Spinazzola (1910-1923) Focused on the 600 metre main road 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. 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.  By the time of his retirement -  “The towns most important business artery had been cleared over almost its entire length”
Amedeo Maiuri (1924-1961)   Has been described as the most productive, determined and controversial director in the history of excavations.
Achievements: Continued the work of Spinazzola along the main road  Excavated / uncovered many areas including: House of Menander  the area behind the Triangular forum the House of Julia Felix  the Necropolis outside the Nucerian Gate Completed the work on the Villa of Mysteries Deepened the excavations to investigate pre-Roman level Restored public buildings such as the Basilica Supervised the re-opening of the excavation at Herculaneum  Discovered the House of the Bi-centenary in Herculaneum – the towns largest and richest residence Amedeo Maiuri (1924-1961)
Maiuri  believed the rich and patricians left the city after 62 AD earthquake and retreated to country estates. Therefore, to Maiuri – Pompeii had been in decline for the last 17 years. Maintained the Forum was still in shambles when Vesuvius erupted Despite all this, there have been criticisms levelled at Maiuri for both his methodology and conclusions: Much of his excavation in 1951 – 61 was rushed – lack of restorative measures undertaken for buildings and lack of documentation His 1933 publication regarding the House of Menander lacks scientific detail; descriptive rather then analytical.  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” Amedeo Maiuri (1924-1961)
Developments in the 2nd half of the 20th Century   By the late 1950’s and 60’s Pompeii in bad shape > natural and human elements causing destruction.  Archaeological efforts since the 1970’s have been motivated by the urgent need to protect and preserve.
Developments in the 2nd half of the 20th Century To address the inherent problems facing Pompeii conservation, three programs were implemented: 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. NEAPOLIS was established – a vast electronic database of all archival documents and archaeological remains. The first accurate map of the site was produced using improvements in the process of making surveys and maps from photos
Long-Term site investigation and documentation projects The Houses in Pompeii Project 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. The Insula of Menander Project 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.  The Pompeian Forum Project Ongoing, started in 1988. Aims to produce more accurate plans of surviving remains in the forum using new computer technologies (AutoCAD).  Developments in the 2nd half of the 20th Century
2.  New Research and Technologies   International co-operation and recent work from 1980 – 2004 International co-operation has developed in recent times with such projects as the “House of Pompeii” and “House of the ancient Hunt” excavations. 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.  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.  Villa Moregine  discovered in 2000; a large structure outside Pompeian city walls “
Impact of new technology Deciphering Papyri 1,800 carbonized papyrus scrolls in Villa of Papyri  The problems of opening, unrolling and reading the fragile papyri  In recent years renewed efforts to decipher scrolls: Computer enhancement of text Digital imaging used to extract images from the scrolls and uncover text that is not visible to human eye. Pattern image recognition and medical imaging techniques might allow the future deciphering of scrolls without unrolling them.
Human Remains Estelle Lazer and the skeletons of Pompeii Many discoveries of human remains at Pompeii.  Since 1986 Estelle Lazer worked on a sample of over 300 individuals – skeletons stored in the female section of the Forum baths.  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. 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. This examination demonstrated the value of this technology – allowing for careful extraction of details and the minimizing of destruction of human remains. Impact of new technology
Human Remains The Skeletons of Herculaneum Sara Bisel closely examined the 139 skeletons from the beachfront since 1982. She concluded that: Low birth rate – believe abortion may have been present  There was a wide diverse genetic inheritance of this population  Evidence for childhood malnutrition and gum disease.  Widespread lead poisoning – due to use of lead in everyday objects eg. Cups 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. 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. Recent study has shown that the people died from exposure to extreme heat, rather than asphyxiation. Impact of new technology
Bodies from the boathouse at Herculaneum
Vittorio De Girolamo works to free a soldier from his volcanic tomb
“ The Second Death of Pompeii” There is a well known saying that  “to dig is to destroy”  – this applies particularly to Pompeii.  For 200 years the remains of Pompeii have been subjected to a whole range of destructive forces  - eg. war, pollution, overgrowth of plants, tourism. By 1957 almost 1/3 of wall paintings had faded completely with none ever having being recorded.  In 1986 Henri de Saint-Blanquet declared Pompeii was an  “archaeological disaster” Pompeii and Herculaneum two of the world’s most endangered cultural sites
Some Issues Shifting focus on the preservation of Pompeii for future generations Early efforts to conserve Pompeii led to later destruction, eg: Use of softwood to restore doorways has resulted in rotting, mould and termites The application of modern mortars and wax to frescoes has resulted in irreversible damage. Protective awnings have fallen, so frescoes left in their original position are now exposed to sun/rain, therefore become damaged.  Estimated 300 million US dollars to bring Pompeii & Herculaneum  “up to acceptable levels of conservation and readiness for tourism”.  Illicit trade in antiquities is a major problem  Over 3 million tourists visit each year - puts great strain on the sites and contributes to a great deal of wear and tear. Almost impossible to stop vandalism “ The Second Death of Pompeii”
Preservation refers to the total protection from harmful and damaging factors.  Example - the closure of streets & buildings to protect against the effects of excessive tourism Restoration refers to any process which contributes to enhancing the visual or functional understanding of an object or building.  Example - restored garden in the House of the Faun at Pompeii Conservation is the action of safeguarding the objects and structures which are in potential danger of degradation.  Example – Roof built over a workshop to protect wall paintings. Preservation, Restoration and Conservation
Replicas 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. 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.  Preservation, Restoration and Conservation
Human Remains Should human remains be excavated and displayed? Some questions raised in this ethical debate include: Should bones be seen solely as artefacts that provide valuable information? Should our view of human remains be a function of the age of the remains? Should archaeologists have the freedom to pursue knowledge and scientific enquiry without political and legal pressures? Who should have custodianship over human remains? What is the most appropriate way to store and display human remains? Do the interests of the scientific community override the wishes of the living relatives or direct descendants of the remains? Ethical Issues
Ownership and the International traffic in antiquities Treasure seeking, souvenir hunting and looting has been rife at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Along with this, there has always been a lucrative antiquities black market – today it is a big business. The growing demands in this market are eroding archaeological heritage Needs to be international co-operation to effectively respond to this problem. 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. This has been called it a “slap in the face” for those who worked for the conservation of heritage in Pompeii and Herculaneum.  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.  Ethical Issues

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Pompeii Part 5: Investigating the past

  • 1. HSC ANCIENT HISTORY CORE STUDY Cities of Vesuvius: Pompeii & Herculaneum
  • 2. PART 5: INVESTIGATING RECONSTRUCTING & PRESERVING THE PAST Archaeology of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 19th and 20th Centuries Changing Interpretations of the sites: New research and Technologies Conservation and Reconstruction Ethical Issues
  • 3. 1. 19 th & 20 th Century Archaeology From 1860 – 1960, Pompeii archaeology came under the leadership of such men as Giuseppe Fiorelli, Spinazzola and Maiuri. All served to create a more systematic and scientific approach to excavation in Pompeii. No longer was it acceptable for archaeologists to focus only on precious objects and beautiful paintings (treasure hunting).
  • 4. Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875) Innovative excavator who introduced a lot of new approaches to the archaeological site of Pompeii – “ pioneer of modern archaeological world”:
  • 5. Fiorelli’s Achievements: A uniform numbering and naming system by dividing the topography of the site into 9 regions. A more systematic approach to excavation – unlike the haphazard digging his predecessors engaged in. 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. Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875)
  • 6. 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. 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. Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875)
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  • 11. New system for recording the work in progress. Day books and diaries and such were employed as to keep a track of progress Shift in approach to the antiquities of Pompeii – by attempting to focus on its overall history rather then on individual objects, buildings and art. 7. Opened up a school of archaeology in Pompeii. 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. 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. Giuseppe Fiorelli (1860-1875)
  • 12. Vittorio Spinazzola (1910-1923) Focused on the 600 metre main road 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. 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. By the time of his retirement - “The towns most important business artery had been cleared over almost its entire length”
  • 13. Amedeo Maiuri (1924-1961) Has been described as the most productive, determined and controversial director in the history of excavations.
  • 14. Achievements: Continued the work of Spinazzola along the main road Excavated / uncovered many areas including: House of Menander the area behind the Triangular forum the House of Julia Felix the Necropolis outside the Nucerian Gate Completed the work on the Villa of Mysteries Deepened the excavations to investigate pre-Roman level Restored public buildings such as the Basilica Supervised the re-opening of the excavation at Herculaneum Discovered the House of the Bi-centenary in Herculaneum – the towns largest and richest residence Amedeo Maiuri (1924-1961)
  • 15. Maiuri believed the rich and patricians left the city after 62 AD earthquake and retreated to country estates. Therefore, to Maiuri – Pompeii had been in decline for the last 17 years. Maintained the Forum was still in shambles when Vesuvius erupted Despite all this, there have been criticisms levelled at Maiuri for both his methodology and conclusions: Much of his excavation in 1951 – 61 was rushed – lack of restorative measures undertaken for buildings and lack of documentation His 1933 publication regarding the House of Menander lacks scientific detail; descriptive rather then analytical. 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” Amedeo Maiuri (1924-1961)
  • 16. Developments in the 2nd half of the 20th Century By the late 1950’s and 60’s Pompeii in bad shape > natural and human elements causing destruction. Archaeological efforts since the 1970’s have been motivated by the urgent need to protect and preserve.
  • 17. Developments in the 2nd half of the 20th Century To address the inherent problems facing Pompeii conservation, three programs were implemented: 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. NEAPOLIS was established – a vast electronic database of all archival documents and archaeological remains. The first accurate map of the site was produced using improvements in the process of making surveys and maps from photos
  • 18. Long-Term site investigation and documentation projects The Houses in Pompeii Project 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. The Insula of Menander Project 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. The Pompeian Forum Project Ongoing, started in 1988. Aims to produce more accurate plans of surviving remains in the forum using new computer technologies (AutoCAD). Developments in the 2nd half of the 20th Century
  • 19. 2. New Research and Technologies International co-operation and recent work from 1980 – 2004 International co-operation has developed in recent times with such projects as the “House of Pompeii” and “House of the ancient Hunt” excavations. 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. 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. Villa Moregine discovered in 2000; a large structure outside Pompeian city walls “
  • 20. Impact of new technology Deciphering Papyri 1,800 carbonized papyrus scrolls in Villa of Papyri The problems of opening, unrolling and reading the fragile papyri In recent years renewed efforts to decipher scrolls: Computer enhancement of text Digital imaging used to extract images from the scrolls and uncover text that is not visible to human eye. Pattern image recognition and medical imaging techniques might allow the future deciphering of scrolls without unrolling them.
  • 21. Human Remains Estelle Lazer and the skeletons of Pompeii Many discoveries of human remains at Pompeii. Since 1986 Estelle Lazer worked on a sample of over 300 individuals – skeletons stored in the female section of the Forum baths. 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. 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. This examination demonstrated the value of this technology – allowing for careful extraction of details and the minimizing of destruction of human remains. Impact of new technology
  • 22. Human Remains The Skeletons of Herculaneum Sara Bisel closely examined the 139 skeletons from the beachfront since 1982. She concluded that: Low birth rate – believe abortion may have been present There was a wide diverse genetic inheritance of this population Evidence for childhood malnutrition and gum disease. Widespread lead poisoning – due to use of lead in everyday objects eg. Cups 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. 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. Recent study has shown that the people died from exposure to extreme heat, rather than asphyxiation. Impact of new technology
  • 23. Bodies from the boathouse at Herculaneum
  • 24. Vittorio De Girolamo works to free a soldier from his volcanic tomb
  • 25. “ The Second Death of Pompeii” There is a well known saying that “to dig is to destroy” – this applies particularly to Pompeii. For 200 years the remains of Pompeii have been subjected to a whole range of destructive forces - eg. war, pollution, overgrowth of plants, tourism. By 1957 almost 1/3 of wall paintings had faded completely with none ever having being recorded. In 1986 Henri de Saint-Blanquet declared Pompeii was an “archaeological disaster” Pompeii and Herculaneum two of the world’s most endangered cultural sites
  • 26. Some Issues Shifting focus on the preservation of Pompeii for future generations Early efforts to conserve Pompeii led to later destruction, eg: Use of softwood to restore doorways has resulted in rotting, mould and termites The application of modern mortars and wax to frescoes has resulted in irreversible damage. Protective awnings have fallen, so frescoes left in their original position are now exposed to sun/rain, therefore become damaged. Estimated 300 million US dollars to bring Pompeii & Herculaneum “up to acceptable levels of conservation and readiness for tourism”. Illicit trade in antiquities is a major problem Over 3 million tourists visit each year - puts great strain on the sites and contributes to a great deal of wear and tear. Almost impossible to stop vandalism “ The Second Death of Pompeii”
  • 27. Preservation refers to the total protection from harmful and damaging factors. Example - the closure of streets & buildings to protect against the effects of excessive tourism Restoration refers to any process which contributes to enhancing the visual or functional understanding of an object or building. Example - restored garden in the House of the Faun at Pompeii Conservation is the action of safeguarding the objects and structures which are in potential danger of degradation. Example – Roof built over a workshop to protect wall paintings. Preservation, Restoration and Conservation
  • 28. Replicas 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. 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. Preservation, Restoration and Conservation
  • 29. Human Remains Should human remains be excavated and displayed? Some questions raised in this ethical debate include: Should bones be seen solely as artefacts that provide valuable information? Should our view of human remains be a function of the age of the remains? Should archaeologists have the freedom to pursue knowledge and scientific enquiry without political and legal pressures? Who should have custodianship over human remains? What is the most appropriate way to store and display human remains? Do the interests of the scientific community override the wishes of the living relatives or direct descendants of the remains? Ethical Issues
  • 30. Ownership and the International traffic in antiquities Treasure seeking, souvenir hunting and looting has been rife at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Along with this, there has always been a lucrative antiquities black market – today it is a big business. The growing demands in this market are eroding archaeological heritage Needs to be international co-operation to effectively respond to this problem. 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. This has been called it a “slap in the face” for those who worked for the conservation of heritage in Pompeii and Herculaneum. 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. Ethical Issues