Stories tagged Bay of Naples


Pompeii update

Pompeii: The Pompeia at Saratoga Springs is a restored version of the House of Pansa, which was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. This photo is from 1889!Courtesy Cornell University Library
My wife often relates to friends that the Pompeii exhibit at the Science Museum Of Minnesota was her favorite. Buried in A.D. 79 by a volcano's eruption, the secrets of Pompeii remained under 20 ft of ash until discovered in 1748. Since then about two-thirds of the city has been exposed.

What many people think about when you ask them about Pompeii, is a city frozen in time when it was suddenly buried.

Cambridge University's Mary Beard, author of The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found says that,

"The ground trembled for weeks beforehand. Only the infirm, the stupid and the optimists stayed."
Rather than a city frozen in time, as scholars have described Pompeii, it was an emptied disaster scene, goods removed and doors locked, when Vesuvius covered the town with ash.

Pompeii preserved the best of the best

What impressed me about the the Pompeii exhibit was the architecture, the interior designs, and the art objects. Pompeii was where the richest, most powerful Roman elite set up summer homes which became like stage creations, re-creating Greek art and Macedonian palaces to show off their status among their peers.

What remains to be uncovered?

What might be found under the remaining yet uncovered ruins. According to architectural historian Thomas Howe of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas:

Still buried under Vesuvius' cooled lava are parts of both Pompeii and Herculaneum; Oplontis, a villa that might have belonged to the emperor Nero's wife; and Stabiae, a site that Howe says is "the largest concentration of excellently preserved enormous Roman villas in the entire Mediterranean world."

We are lucky that some artifacts are still buried

I think it fortunate that maybe some of the best might be uncovered last. Once exposed, the "ruins quickly become ruined". Weather, weeds, tourists, and looters take a drastic tole upon the beautiful artifacts. The Italian government last year declared a state of emergency to speed preservation efforts at the 109-acre ruin. Rather than starting new excavations at Pompeii and nearby sites, Pompeii superintendent, Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, has concentrated on conservation.

Read "Blogging Pompeii"

Thanks to Google translate, you can keep up with what is going on. The web site Blogging Pompeii is:

... for all those who work on Pompeii and the other archaeological sites of the Bay of Naples. Here we share news and information about Pompeii and the other sites, and we discuss current research. Here we share news and information about Pompeii and the other sites, and we discuss current research.

Learn more about Pompeii