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.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Pompeii: The First Navigation Map

Check out the Pompeii Bibliography and Mapping Project website. They have just made available their first full map for navigation. You can read more about it here. It's looking great - congratulations to Eric and team!

Monday, 24 November 2014

For sale: antique prints

If anyone is interested in buying antique prints of archaeological remains, I encourage you to take a look at the following website: www.philographikon.com. I have bought prints from Rainer Rauhut in the past and have just received this email:
At age 75, after 40 years of a wonderful career, and with no family members following our foot steps in our antiquarian business, we are now in the process of liquidating our still immense stock of antique prints. When you stroll through our website and discover any print of interest to you, please feel free to disregard our marked price and make us an offer. Don't hesitate to be brave and courageous. We shall certainly consider any offer made. Also please keep in mind, that our stock exceeds by far our internet presentation.If you are looking for prints you do not find on our website, please contact us.
They have a great collection of Pompeian prints, as well as other sites in the Bay of Naples, but the website is not limited to this and you will find all sorts of things on it. Service is quick and friendly too!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Article on Herculaneum's boat

In recognition that there is almost nothing published on Herculaneum's boat, which was found capsized on the ancient shoreline during the 1980s, my Herculaneum colleagues have done a fine job of describing its importance in an article in the popular archaeology magazine, Archeo. You may have missed the edition as it came out in August and only in Italy, but we've finally been able to get a pdf from the editor and I've posted it for download here for those who are interested. Sorry it's not in English but best we could do for the time being!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Kilns with raw clay vases outside Porta Ercolano

Raw clay vases were first found in 2012 during the excavation lead by L. Cavassa (Centre Jean-Bérard/Centre Camille-Jullian, CNRS) outside Porta Ercolano. New fragments were found in the second workshop in 2014, which led to a mention in the new section of the Soprintendenza site, Scavi e ricerche: "La bottega del vasaio sulla Via dei Sepolcri".
A more detailed version is available on the CNRS/INSHS site.

2012 interim report mentioning the raw clay vases was published here, 2013 interim report there. The 2014 interim report is forthcoming there.

In the news this week

From IlGiornale.it:

Per Pompei piano da 105 milioni Servirà o sarà un nuovo spreco?

Fondi Ue per videosorveglianza, nuove luci e più aree visitabili. Ma i custodi si oppongono a tutto: "Qui comandiamo noi"

Il professor Massimo Osanna viene dalla carriera accademica, ma da un anno è il «sindaco» della città morta più viva del mondo: Pompei. 

«Ci sono giorni - spiega Osanna al Giornale - in cui l'area archeologica degli scavi è “abitata” da oltre 20 mila turisti». Osanna - che ha la fortuna di un cognome con invocazione incorporata - non è ovviamente il «sindaco» di Pompei, ma il «Responsabile della Soprintendenza speciale per i beni archeologici di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia» (ma tanta roba ci starà sul bigliettino da visita?): ruolo che - capirete bene - è ben più complesso di quello di un semplice primo cittadino, tipo Marino, Pisapia o addirittura De Magistris.
Read more here.
From Corriere del Mezzogiorno:

Pompei e il giallo degli affreschi buttati
Grande Progetto, la Dia negli uffici

La denuncia dell’archeologo Mario Torelli. Il blitz pochi giorni dopo la relazione di Nistri

NAPOLI - Un grande archeologo che denuncia, in una intervista concessa a un prestigioso giornale di cultura, che alcuni affreschi del soffitto di una domus di Pompei sono stati buttati via per accelerare i lavori di realizzazione di un ristorante. Potrebbe essere smentito, querelato o oggetto di un’inchiesta. Ma nulla di tutto questo. Quanto detto da Mario Torelli al «Giornale dell’Arte» del novembre 2014 (numero 347), in un articolo a firma di Edek Osser, uscito qualche giorno fa e pubblicato sul sito www.ilgiornaledellarte.com, è passato totalmente sotto silenzio. Un mistero. Eppure, se vera, è una cosa gravissima. Il racconto riguarda un alto dirigente del ministero durante il suo mandato, al vertice dell’ufficio per la Valorizzazione, durato quattro anni (nomina nel 2008).  

Read more here.

From IlSole24Ore:

Blitz antimafia a Pompei: hard disk sequestrati per far luce sul Grande progetto

Le piogge di novembre a Pompei non portano mai buone nuove. Quattro anni fa il crollo della Schola Armatorum fece salire il livello generale d'allerta intorno a quello che l'Unesco definisce il sito archeologico meglio conosciuto e peggio conservato del mondo occidentale. Quest'anno per fortuna niente crolli, ma arriva un blitz della Direzione investigativa antimafia di Napoli in Soprintendenza con relativa acquisizione di materiale informatico e atti per fare luce sugli appalti del Grande progetto.
Gli agenti sono arrivati negli uffici degli scavi venerdì mattina di buon'ora. L'idea dei più era che si trattasse di un controllo di routine di quelli che periodicamente avvengono sulla base del Protocollo d'intesa per la legalità sottoscritto dai ministeri di Interni e Beni culturali nel 2012. Stavolta, tuttavia, gli investigatori hanno fatto rotta sull'ufficio tecnico, facendosi consegnare gli hard disk dei computer e, in alcuni casi, ispezionando addirittura le cartelle di alcuni dipendenti. Tra gli inquirenti della Direzione distrettuale antimafia di Napoli al momento c'è grande riserbo, ma tutto lascia pensare che il blitz sia riconducibile al fascicolo aperto in Procura prima dell'estate (si veda ilsole24ore.com del 5 maggio 2014) intorno agli appalti del Grande progetto da 105 milioni cofinanziato dall'Unione europea. Da indiscrezioni si apprende che per il momento il lavoro degli inquirenti ruoterebbe intorno all'ipotesi di reato di abuso d'ufficio.

Read more here.

Photo: Vesuvio immortalato dallo spazio

Vesuvio ripreso dallo spazio: è la foto più votata del concorso "Top Satellite Image of 2013"

From Napoli Today:

Vesuvio immortalato dallo spazio: è la foto più votata del concorso "Top Satellite Images of 2013"

La bellezza del vulcano campano mozza il fiato anche dall'alto e sbaraglia i tanti degnissimi avversari raccogliendo oltre 3mila voti. In concorso scatti provenienti da ogni angolo del mondo.

 Read more here.

Potrebbe interessarti: http://www.napolitoday.it/cronaca/foto-vesuvio-spazio-vince-top-satellite-images-2013.html
Seguici su Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NapoliToday

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Book: La Pittura di Ercolano

Many congratulations to Mimmo Esposito on the publication of his long-awaited book!

Domenico Esposito, La pittura di Ercolano. Studi della Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei 33 (L'Erma di Bretschneider, 2014)

News: Vases in Pompeii Reveal Panic Before Eruption

From Discovery News:
'Vases in Pompeii Reveal Panic Before Eruption
'French and Italian archaeologists digging out a pottery workshop in Pompeii have brought to light 10 raw clay vases, revealing a frozen-in-time picture of the exact moment panicked potters realized they were facing an impending catastrophe.

The vases were found sealed under a layer of ash and pumice from Mount Vesuvius' devastating eruption of 79 A.D. and it appears they were just ready to be fired.

They were dropped and abandoned, along with the kilns, after frightened potters saw a pine tree-shaped column of smoke bursting from Vesuvius on Aug. 24, 79 A.D.

Reaching nine miles into the sky, the column began spewing a thick pumice rain. Like many Pompeii residents, the scared potters probably rushed in the streets, trying to leave the city.

"They abandoned the workshop and everything they were doing at that moment," dig director Laëtitia Cavassa of the Center Jean Bérard, told Discovery News. The pottery workshop was found in the area just outside the Herculaneum Gate. It consists of at least three rooms and two kilns.'
Continue reading here.

Does anyone know where this excavation is taking place? Is it that completely ruinous shop outside the Herculaneum Gate that the guidebooks claim was a pottery? Can anyone share any more details about the excavation?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Conference: Diet and environment in the Roman world

There are a bunch of Pompeii-related papers at this conference, and the new Superintendent will be there too. The whole thing looks fascinating.

Diet and Environment in the Roman World

Sponsored by the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, the American Academy in Rome, l’École française de Rome, the Escuela Española de Historia y Arqueología en Roma 12-14 November, 2014 Museo delle Terme di Diocleziano Rome

This conference addresses one of the most important new directions in classical archaeology – an increasing attention to human environments. The evidence of plant, faunal and skeletal data provide the possibility of a fuller understanding of the ancient world – of agricultural techniques, diet, health and disease and environmental change. Through the more intensive collection and analysis of biological data, classical archaeology is transforming from a discipline concerned principally with great monuments to a richer consideration of the relationship between humans and their many environments.

The conference assembles an international group of specialists – faunal and human skeletal specialists, archaeobotanists and historians. Major excavations from around the Roman world will be presented in the light of new biological data, with teams of specialists from each site asked to present the whole of their collections, highlighting places where different kinds of evidence yield similar – and divergent – histories. Each team will be further asked to situate their findings in historical context – both of their site and more broadly. Keynote summaries will be offered by archaeologists and historians, reflecting on the significance of individual findings for the field as a whole.


Wednesday Nov. 12: AM (9:30-11:30)
9:00 Arrival and Coffee
9:30-12: Welcome State of the Field Summaries
9:30-10:00 Marijke Van der Veen, “Plants as Archives of Human Behaviour”
10:15-10:45 Luca Bondioli, “Cosa narrano le ossa ed i denti”
11-11:30 Michael MacKinnon, “Zooarchaeology and Roman Archaeology: Trekking a Course Forward”
11:45-12:15: Coffee Break
12:15-12:45pm Response, William Harris
1pm: Break
PM (2:30-5:30pm): Team Site Presentations
2:30: Emanuele Papi, “Il caso di Thamusida (Marocco)”
3:30: John Marston, “Archaeological perspectives on desert adaptation in the Roman Fayum, Egypt”
4:30 Dominique Castex, “Cimitero di Ss. Pietro e Marcellino, Roma”
6:00 pm Reception

Thursday Nov. 13: AM (10-12): Team Site Presentations
9:00 Cofee 9:30 Pompeii: Temple of Fortuna Augusta: Véronique Zech-Matterne, (CNRS/MNHN, UMR 7209 AASPE), “Le temple de Fortune Auguste et ses annexes (Pompéi, Campanie): étude des restes végétaux associés aux niveaux de fondation et de fonctionnement d’un lieu de culte,” Tarek Oueslati (HALMA UMR 8164 CNRS-Université de Lille) “Faunal remains from the Annex of the Fortuna Augusta Temple, Pompeii.”
10:30: Pompeii: Porta Stabia: Mark Robinson (University of Oxford) and Michael MacKinnon (University of Winnipeg), “Complexity and context in the Diet and Environment of a Pompeian neighborhood,”
11:30: Erica Rowan and Mark Robinson, “Evidence for Diet at Herculaneum”
12:30 pm: Break
PM (2:30-4:30): Team Site Presentations (45 minutes each + 15 minutes discussion)
2:30 Portus: Tamsin O’Connell and Simon Keay
3:30: Almudena Orejas, Paloma García Díaz, Carmen Fernández Ochoa Gijón, “The Fábrica de Tabacos in Gijón (Asturias. Spain): the geoarchaeological and archaeobiological record”
4:30-5pm: Coffee Break 5pm: Key Note Lecture: Peter Garnsey: “Climate, Crops and the Costs of Urbanization in the Roman World”
8:00 Dinner at Palazzo Farnese for Participants

Friday, Nov. 14:
9:30: Coffee
10: 00-12 Environmental Archaeology in Rome: A Round Table Discussion: Moderator: Massimo Ossana Francesco di Gennaro, Maria Rosaria Barbera: (sul ruolo delle bioarcheologia nell’ambito della Archeologia a Roma: stato delle ricerche, problematiche e risultati) Tina Panella (su suoi scavi nel centro storico: approcci multidisciplinari) Jacopo De Grossi Mazzorin & Claudia Minniti (su archeozoologia nell’area di Roma: stato delle ricerche, problematiche e risultati) Paola Catalano (su antropologia nell’area di Roma: stato delle ricerche, problematiche e risultati) Carlo Rosa, Renato Matteucci e Renato Sebastiani (su geoarcheologia nell’area di Roma: stato delle ricerche, problematiche e risultati) Laura Sadori e Alessandra Celant (su archeobotanica nell’area di Roma: stato delle ricerche, problematiche e risultati)

Call for participants: Apolline Project

Study Medieval Human Bones and Roman Ceramics on the Slopes of Mt Vesuvius

Call for participants – Winter one and two-week courses offered in the areas of human osteology and ceramic analysis.

The Apolline Project is an open research network, which sheds light on the hitherto neglected past of the area to the north of Mt. Vesuvius, in the Bay of Naples. The project has run actively since 2004 and has several components, with current major work focusing on a Medieval church and a Roman villa with baths buried by the volcanoclastic debris of Vesuvius.

The Apolline Project is now accepting applications for its intensive winter lab courses. Selected participants may have the opportunity to spend additional time before and after their chosen program(s) at the project’s accommodations at no additional charge in order to better explore the region.

For further information, including individual course descriptions, please visit:
HUMAN OSTEOLOGY: http://www.apollineproject.org/bones.html
POTTERY LAB: http://www.apollineproject.org/labs.html

We would be very grateful if professors would be so kind as to forward this message to the relevant university mailing lists and to students who might be interested in participating. If your institution is interested in joining the research network (we have permission to work and study other sites), please send us a message at info@apollineproject.org

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Latrines, sewers show varied ancient Roman diet

Archaeologists picking through latrines, sewers, cesspits and trash dumps at Pompeii and Herculaneum have found tantalizing clues to an apparently varied diet there before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed those Roman cities in 79 A.D. 

Latrines, sewers show varied ancient Roman diet
A scallop shell with makeup found in a sewer of Herculaneum.
[Credit: Mark Robinson/Oxford University Museum of Natural History] 

Much of what residents didn't digest or left on their plates went down into latrine holes, became remnants in cesspits built up over the centuries or was thrown away in local dumps. At a three-day conference ending Friday in Rome, archaeologists discussed their discoveries, including gnawed-on fish bones and goose eggshells that were possibly ancient delicacies for the elite. 

"We just have small glimpses of the environment, but some are quite curious," Mark Robinson, a professor of environmental archaeology at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, told the conference. 

Here's some of the curiosities the experts discussed: 

Romans liked eating local 

Much of what the inhabitants ate was local. Archaeologists noted that some types of mollusk shells found in the sewers of Herculaneum came from the ancient town's beach. Notable exceptions include grain, which was likely imported from Egypt; dates from the Middle East and northern Africa; and pepper spice from India. Although flour left no traces across such a long time, grain weevils apparently survived the milling process, ending up in a Herculaneum sewer that served a block of shops and home. 

Pork pleased Roman palates then and now 

Today's Romans are big on pork—pork slices known as porchetta are a popular filling for lunchtime sandwiches. Trash dumps from roughly the 1st century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D. in the Pompeii neighborhood of Porta Stabia yielded an abundance of pig bones, a sure sign that pork was popular then, noted Michael MacKinnon from the University of Winnipeg. Particularly tasty mollusks known as telline were popular on ancient tables; now telline as an ingredient for a seafood sauce is a much sought-after item on present-day Roman menus. 

A chicken in every pot? 

That's not clear but lots of chicken eggs were consumed, judging by the numerous pieces of eggshell found. Erica Rowan, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter who worked on the Herculaneum sewer, also reported finding two fragments of goose egg shell, possibly the remnants of a meal consumed by the elite. But for the most part, it appeared that both rich and not-so-rich Romans in these cities ate much the same food, especially fish. 

Hors d'oeuvres for the deities 

Being buried for centuries in the sewers and cesspits helped preserve food traces—Vesuvius' eruption also carbonized some food for posterity. Bite-sized, carbonized, cake-like breads—"nibbles for the gods" is how Robinson referred to them—were discovered at a disused kiln in Pompeii. Pieces of votive cups were also found, prompting archaeologists to view the nibbles as possible offerings to ancient Roman deities. Author: 

Read more at: The Archaeology News Network

Friday, 14 November 2014

Date of the eruption

I just came across the following blog post: The Inconvenient Coin: Dating the Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum. I wasn't going to post this to Blogging Pompeii at first (we're all familiar with the debate!), but then I read one of the comments by David Atherton:

'Richard Abdy of the British Museum examined the coin in question last year when it was part of the BM’s Pompeii exhibit. In his article ‘The Last Coin in Pompeii’ in the 2013 Numismatic Chronicle he concluded the reverse legend actually reads TR P VIIII IMP XIIII COS VII, dating it to July/August 79 AD'.
 I wasn't aware of this article. Has anyone read it yet? If so, what do you think? 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

News: Napoli. Piazza Municipio: rinvenuta un’altra nave

From: E' Campania
Napoli. Piazza Municipio: rinvenuta un’altra nave Non si ritarderà l'apertura della metro nonostante i nuovi rinvenimenti di Maria Cristina Napolitano - 07 Novembre 2014 Trovata a Napoli nel cantiere di Piazza Municipio un'altra nave di epoca romana. La zona in cui si stanno svolgendo i lavori della linea 1 della metropolitana, corrisponde ad un’area archeologica di lunga continuità di vita: dall’epoca romana a cui appartiene il porto di Neapolis, al periodo aragonese all’epoca moderna. I lavori per la metropolitana riguardano la realizzazione del tronchino di collegamento tra il pozzo di stazione di linea 6 e quello di manovra di via Acton. Che la zona fosse di interesse archeologico era cosa nota, già in letteratura si leggeva dell’esistenza in loco del porto romano.
Continue reading and view photos of the ships here.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Exhibition: L'empire de la couleur

Alexandra Dardenay (Maître de Conférences, Archéologie et Histoire de l'art romain, Université de Toulouse) has curated a new exhibition on Roman wall-painting in Toulouse. It will run from 15th November 2014 to 22nd March 2015.

News: Montreal woman ‘pushed by the weight of her conscience’ returns stolen artifact to Pompeii after 50 years

From the National Post:

Montreal woman ‘pushed by the weight of her conscience’ returns stolen artifact to Pompeii after 50 years

Fifty years after a Canadian woman stole a precious antiquity while on a tour of the ruins of Pompeii, regret finally got the better of her, so she made a pilgrimage back to the site near Naples to return it, according to Italian authorities.

The woman, unnamed but identified as a 70-year-old Canadian from Montreal, whose identity the National Post has learned independently, illustrates the abiding power of regret, and how the urge for atonement can persist even when the crime is long forgotten

Read the full story here.

Saturday, 1 November 2014



We are sorry to inform you that one of our pompeiinpictures sites, www.pompeiiinpictures.net is not operating at present.

The registrar for this web name, who we have been with since July 2007, ceased trading unexpectedly and we have had no contact about what may happen next.

As a result pompeiiinpictures.net no longer points to our web site and is thus unavailable anywhere in the world at present. We are unable to gain the access needed to change this.

We are seeking a resolution to this matter. It seems to involve chasing people in the USA, Russia and Australia, but strangely not the UK where it was registered.
Unfortunately we do not know how long this may take. Once we get our domain name back it should be a quick return to normal service.

A suggestion.

If you have any bookmarks, links or are using references from a book or elsewhere that refer to the pompeiiinpictures.net site, then simply 

      change net to org or eu in the web address line 

this will use www.pompeiiinpictures.org or www.pompeiiinpictures.eu instead.

Rest assured all other pompeiiinpictures sites are working normally.

They are all hosted in other places in the world with other suppliers.

Once again our apologies for this problem.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Raw clay pots from Pompeii workshop found

Archaeologists say they have found the remains of dozens of pieces of pottery in their raw clay form in what was once a ceramics workshop near ancient Pompeii's Herculaneum gate. 

Raw clay pots from Pompeii workshop found

The vessels, sealed under ash from the fiery eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, have been catalogued for study by scholars interested in the daily life of Pompeii, including numerous artisanal workshops. 

The office of Italy's superintendent of archaeology is working on the project in collaboration with scholars at the Centre Jean Bérard and École Française de Rome. 

The find has been called "surprising" and provides more insights into daily life in the city of Pompeii just before disaster struck, preserving the entire ancient city in ash. 

The clay vessels, which were to be used as drink or food containers, are the result of work just outside the ancient city walls near the Herculaneum gate where it is believed workshops and even cemeteries were located. 

The furnace was discovered in 1838 and the space nearby is believed to be a working room for creating pottery and described as important to the understanding of ceramic techniques of the period. 

In a separate workshop, two furnaces were found and are also thought to have been used for producing fine ceramics with thin surfaces. 

Read more at: The Archaeology News Network

See  The workshop on pompeiiinpictures

Friday, 24 October 2014

Save the Swedish Institutes in the Mediterranean

Worrying news from Sweden: the Institutes around Mediterranean are in danger.

Swedish Institute at Athens announces:
"The Swedish government has proposed that the budget for the Mediterranean institutes (Athens, Istanbul, Rome) should be cut with more than half in 2016 and with 100% in 2017. This means that there will be no institutes. A petition could be signed at http://www.namninsamling.com/site/get.asp?Medelhavsinstitut."

Here is the petition text in English:
Dear government,

The signers of this petition strongly disagree with the suggestion in this year’s budget bill to cut funding for the Swedish Institutes in the Mediterranean, and in the coming year completely abandon the financial support. This decision reflects a lack of investigation on the government’s part, and this decision can have devastating effects.

The Institutes provides an invaluable contribution to research, education and cultural exchange, all happening on a minute budget. They promote cross-disciplinary cooperation, mobility, internationalization, and the application of funds and excellence. The Institutes also contribute to the overall quality of many university disciplines in Sweden. They, moreover, function as a place for intercultural meetings, national centers and fora for courses, conferences, seminars and provide excellent resources for both small and large educational establishments. The institutes have a strong brand and are internationally known and respected research centres. To cut their funding would be a grave mistake.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Museum of Ancient Paintings, Portici

We stumbled across this painting and thought we would share it with you all.

The Portici museum must have been a sight to see, if all those paintings were on display as shown.

That is assuming you could get a "permesso" to enter.

The painting is titled:
Museum of Ancient Paintings, Palais of Portici Naples. 
It is a painting by Thomas Rowlandson c 1800.
The Victoria and Albert Museum describe it as:
A satirical watercolour showing a woman with three young men looking at wall frescoes.
Two older men stand behind the group.
Rowlandson shows a woman admiring a display of risqué Roman fresco paintings while the men surrounding her all look lecherously at her. 
The crux of the satire is whether their visit is a cultural or erotic pastime.

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Museum inventory number DYCE.799.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Albrecht Matthaei in Hamburg, Germany

Another event at the Bucerius Kunst Forum — in conjunction with their current show on Pompeii (featuring the House of the Citharist) which opens today!

Pompeji eine Zukunft geben

8. Dezember 2014 20:00 - 22:00 Uhr
Dr. Albrecht Matthaei, Koordinator des "Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project" im Gespräch mit Dr. Andreas Hoffmann, Geschäftsführer des Bucerius Kunst Forums und Kurator der Ausstellung

Pompeji eine Zukunft zu geben – das ist das Ziel des internationalen Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project. Die Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia und internationale Forschungsinstitutionen, darunter das Fraunhofer Institut für Bauphysik in Stuttgart, die Technische Universität München, die Pompeji-Denkmalschutzbehörde und das Internationale Forschungszentrum für Denkmalpflege und Restaurierung der UNESCO, haben sich zusammengeschlossen, um die Erhaltung und Restaurierung der archäologischen Denkmale in Pompeji zu sichern. Das Projekt hat seine Arbeit 2014 in der Nekropole vor der Porta Nocera begonnen. Nirgendwo sonst sind antike Friedhöfe besser bekannt als in Pompeji. Mit seinen sechzig aufwändigen Grabbauten, die seit den 1950er Jahren erschlossen wurden, ist der Grabbezirk vor der Porta Nocera der größte Pompejis. Hier soll außerhalb der Stadtmauern ein Freilichtmuseum entstehen, das auch als Unterrichtsort für Archäologen genutzt werden kann. Der Weg dahin ist lang – und teuer. Im Gespräch mit Andreas Hoffmann berichtet Albrecht Matthaei von den Chancen und Schwierigkeiten des internationalen Restaurierungs- und Konservierungsprojektes und von den Problemen der Finanzierung.

€ 10,– / € 8,–

Massimo Osanna in Hamburg, Germany

Prof. Dr. Massimo Osanna, Soprintendente von Pompeji, spricht beim Bucerius Kunst Forum in Hamburg:

Weltkulturerbe in Gefahr. Neue Strategien zur Rettung Pompejis

17. November 2014 20:00 - 22:00 Uhr

Meldungen über einstürzende Bauten in den Hauptstraßen Pompejis wie die Gladiatorenschule oder der Diebstahl der Darstellung einer Artemis aus dem Stadtpalast der Casa di Nettuno dominieren in den internationalen Feuilletons die aktuelle Berichterstattung über Pompeji. 

Seit März 2014 ist Prof. Dr. Massimo Osanna als oberster Denkmalpfleger und neuer Leiter der Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia für die Konservierung und Erforschung der weltweit einzigartigen archäologischen Hinterlassenschaften in den Vesuvstädten verantwortlich. In seinem Vortrag berichtet er zum ersten Mal seit der Übernahme des Amtes in Deutschland von den Problemen der Konservierung, den anstehenden Aufgaben und von seinen Perspektiven für das Weltkulturerbe Pompejis, der größten erhaltenen Stadtruine der Antike. Wie begegnet die archäologische Denkmalpflege den aktuellen Problemen? Welche Restaurierungsprojekte stehen im Mittelpunkt der Arbeit der Archäologen der kommenden Jahre? Welche Forschungsprojekte sind geplant? Wie werden die zahlreichen internationalen Initiativen zur Erforschung der Vesuvstädte koordiniert? 

Bevor Massimo Osanna die Leitung der Archäologischen Denkmalpflege in der Vesuvregion übernommen hat, war er Professor für Klassische Archäologie an der Università degli Studi della Basilicata und Direktor der Scuola di Specializzazione in Beni Archeologici in Matera in der Basilicata. Osanna hat sich maßgeblich um die archäologische Erforschung Unteritaliens verdient gemacht und für seine Arbeiten zahlreiche Auszeichnungen erhalten. Von 2007 bis 2008 hat er das Amt des Soprintendente per i Beni Archeologici della Basilicata bekleidet. Osanna war Gastprofessor an der Universität in Heidelberg, an der Ecole normale in Paris und Humboldt-Stipendiat an der Freien Universität Berlin.

Vortrag in deutscher Sprache mit anschließender Möglichkeit zur Diskussion.

€ 10,– / € 8,– 


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Augustus's rooms open for first time in Rome

Lavishly frescoed rooms in the houses of the Roman Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia are opening for the first time to the public Thursday, after years of painstaking restoration.

The houses on Rome's Palatine hill where the emperor lived with his family are re-opening after a 2.5 million euro ($3.22 million) restoration to mark the 2,000 anniversary of Augustus's death -- with previously off-limit chambers on show for the first time.
From garlands of flowers on Pompeian red backgrounds to majestic temples and scenes of rural bliss, the rooms are adorned with vividly coloured frescoes, many in an exceptional condition.
Restorers said their task had been a complex one, with bad weather during excavation threatening the prized relics of a golden era in the Eternal City.
"We had to tackle a host of problems which were all connected, from underground grottos to sewers -- and I'm talking about a sewer system stretching over 35 hectares (86 acres)," said Mariarosaria Barbera, Rome's archaeological superintendent.
To protect the site, tourists will have to book to join one of three daily groups of up to 20 people who will be taken around by a guide for a 15-minute visit.
Cinzia Conti, head restorer, said the plan was to allow people to enjoy "a more intimate, more attentive exploration of Augustus's spaces."

American tourists caught with Pompeii 'souvenir'

Two American tourists were caught at Rome’s Fiumicino airport with a 30kg artefact from the ruins of Pompeii stashed in their luggage. The American tourists allegedly stole an artefact from Pompeii weighing 30kg.

[Credit: Il Mattino] 

The artefact, which would have adorned a building at the site near Naples, was discovered on Monday morning in the tourists’ luggage in their rental car. They reportedly intended to fly home but were stopped by airport authorities and now face charges of appropriation of state heritage, Italian news sources said. 

Read more at  The Archaeology News Network

Thursday, 11 September 2014

English speaker in Vesuvian area wanted!

Are you a mother-tongue English speaker based in the Vesuvian area? I've been contacted by an Italian student who is looking for a conversation partner to help improve his English - he's willing to pay or to offer Italian conversation in exchange. If you're interested, let me know and I can put you in touch. Thanks - Sarah (s.court[at]herculaneum.org]

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Fears that corporate cash will lead to Disneyfication of Italy's cultural heritage?

According to this report, Italy’s kings of fashion are poised to give this nation’s crumbling monuments a makeover to restore them to their former glory, something the cash-strapped Italian government cannot do. 

They are throwing millions of euros toward desperately needed restorations in exchange for various sponsorship rights, helping spur one of the single-largest periods of archaeological and artistic renewal in modern Italian history. 

Read more at: The Archaeology News Network

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Open data Grande Progetto pompei

First seen on Archeomatica (an interesting site I didn't know):
Nell'interesse della trasparenza e dell'efficienza amministrativa, la Direzione Generale del Grande Progetto Pompei intraprende la strada degli open data. 
More informations, data and maps there.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Superintendent Osanna to speak in Munich

Of interest to our colleagues in the Munich area! — Steph

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen,
ich möchte Sie hiermit sehr herzlich zu einem öffentlichen Abendvortrag des Prof. Dr. Massimo Osanna, des Soprintendente von Pompeji, zum Thema "Pompeji zur Zeit des 'Grande Progetto Pompei' - laufende Arbeiten und Perspektiven" einladen.

Der Vortrag wird am Montag, den 15. September, am Lehrstuhl für Restaurierung, Kunsttechnologie und Konservierungswissenschaft der TU München stattfinden.

Alle notwendigen Informationen bezüglich des Vortrages finden Sie in der Einladung, die ich Ihnen im Anhang dieser Email sende.

Für Rückfragen stehe ich Ihnen natürlich jederzeit gerne zur Verfügung,

Anna Anguissola


Dr. Anna Anguissola
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Graduate School Distant Worlds
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
D-80539 München

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

30 New Pompeii employees 

10 buildings reopened from 4th August

Good news from the Soprintendenza web site:

Thanks to the agreement signed between the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabia and  la società ALES spa, from August 4th, thirty new employees take service at the archaeological site of Pompeii in activities to support the use of domus and buildings until now closed due to the insufficient number of guards.

The new employees will ensure the opening to the public from 8.30 am to 19.00 the following buildings:

Termopolio di Vetutio Placido
Casa dei Ceii
Casa del Larario di Achille
Casa di Marco Lucrezio FrontoneREGIO V
Casa dell'Ara Massima
Casa di Apollo
Terme Suburbane
Casa della Caccia Antica
Casa di CorneliaREGIO  VIII
Casa di Marco LucrezioREGIO  IX
See http://www.pompeiisites.org/Sezione.jsp?titolo=Pompei:%20dal%204%20agosto%20dieci%20edifici%20in%20pi%C3%B9%20da%20visitare&idSezione=1505

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