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Pompeii and Herculaneum FULL NOTES Ancient History HSC Year 12 copy

Cities of Vesuvius – Pompeii and Herculaneum
 the geographical setting and natural features of Campania
Geographical setting and natural features
 Pompeii and Herculaneum were towns located on the coast of the Bay of Naples in the
fertile region of Campania, about 200 kms south of Rome
 Bay of Naples dominated by active volcano Mt Vesuvius which erupted in AD 79 and
destroyed both towns
 River Sarno, which in antiquity flowed by Pompeii, was an important means of
communication w/ the hinterland
 there was a broad alluvial plain useful for growing crops and forested mountains where
timber was obtained
 Pompeii believed to have had a harbour but there is no agreement on its location
 the harbour may have been a river lagoon port on an earlier river bend south west of the
temple of Venus or further away at the mouth of the river
 the agricultural resources of the area included wheat and barley, broad-beans, chickpeas,
fruits and olives
 the rich volcanic soil favoured the planting of vines on the slopes of Vesuvius  wine was
 volcanic stone was quarried for building materials and for grindstones
 sheep and goats were grazed and fish, mussels and shellfish were obtained from the Bay of
 Herculaneum was situated on a narrow piece of pre-historic lava flow jutting out into the
sea  there was a beachfront
 there were ravines on either side of the settlement so the town site was narrow
Plans and streetscape of Pompeii
 the pre-Roman 6th century BC settlement was on an old lava flow from an early eruption of
Mt Vesuvius
 covered an area of approx. 66 hectares  population of 8 000 to 12 000 likely
 about one third of town still not excavated
 streets of the original ‘old city’ have been traced in the south-west area of the later Roman
 first defensive city wall, 3.5 km long, constructed of lava and tufa blocks rebuilt in 6th
century BC
walls rebuilt number of times but by 1st century AD were no longer required  part of wall
facing sea built upon
entry to town through 8 gates which connected to the roads leading to other towns
Romans standardised original town plan dividing it into more regular grid of city blocks or
‘islands’ (insulae)  main streets ran east-west and cut by cross-streets (cardines) running
Archaeologists have named main east-west street the Via dell’Abbondanza  the Street of
Abundance  after the figure of ‘Abundance’ found on a fountain
an insula, city block, might include mix of houses, big or small, shops, bakeries and artisans’
some larger houses took up most of block
some blocks in the town planted as orchards, vineyards or gardens
town centred on open space of forum and Temple of Jupiter, the Capitolium, designed to
recall the Capitol Hill at Rome
Plan and streetscape of Herculaneum
 built on a promontory formed by a pre-historic lava flow that jutted out into the Bay of
 town bounded by ravines on eastern and western sides
 small town had ‘modest walls’ for defence
 estimated to have been 12 hectares in size and smaller than Pompeii
 population of between 2 000 and 3 000 people likely
 only about 5 hectares of town have been excavated to date
 because of topography town is long and narrow  main street decumanus maximus runs
east-west and only area to south of the decumanus has been excavated
 northern part remains buried under modern town of Ercolano
forum, located on western side of town and accessed from the decumanus maximus still
remains unexcavated
5 cross-streets (cardines) run north-south  southern end of Cardo V terminates in ramp
down to terrace above ancient beach
ancient beach and boat chambers accessed by flight of steps that led down from terrace
on east side of town palaestra, a development of early 1st century AD, included shops, a
bakery and multi-storey dwellings
the eruption of AD 79 and its impact on Pompeii and Herculaneum
 in 18hrs, city ruined and 5000 killed
casts of victims preserved in ash
some didn’t believe Mt Vesuvius was a volcano – had been quiet for 1500+ years
Mt Vesuvius surrounded by fertile soils
no Latin word for ‘volcano’
24th August (or October) 79 AD
 signs  minor trembles  no one read signs
 magma leaking, pressure mounting, earth tremors more frequent
 1pm – eruption  molten rock turns from lava to foam  trapped in superheated
pressure-cauldron for 1500 years  ejected at supersonic speed which forms churning
column that rises into sky
 minutes after – columns of gas rises 15km into sky, visible in Misenum
 wind drives column into cloud over Pompeii  day turns to night
 atmosphere – boiling rock mixes with air  cools, solidifies, begins to fall  takes 30 mins
to reach Pompeii – (1hr after eruption) magma turns to pumice stones  mixed w/
pumice, cold & dense rocks from volcano (200km/hr) strike w/ deadly force
 1000s try to flee
 big mid-afternoon, volcano thrown over 100 million tonnes of pumice & ash on Pompeii 
as it collects, weight of pumice threatens to collapse roofs of houses
 Herculaneum – closer to Vesuvius, people unharmed because of wind
 7hrs into eruption – mostly deserted, some trapped due to pumice
 Pumice and ash suck moisture from air
 heavier w/ denser rock, part of column collapses, cascading in wave down Vesuvius 
superheated ash and molten rock churn down mountainside  pyroclastic surge headed
towards Herculaneum  heat so intense, instant death  people on beach don’t just burn
but turn to charcoal
 in boat houses, death from thermal shock  boiling surge cloud settled on bodies, soft
tissues vaporize, teeth and bone shatter, brains boil & explode (300 men, women and
children have been found)
 after eruption, Herculaneum under 25m of volcanic debris
 Pompeii – still falling pumice
 massive earthquake – at heart of volcano magma chamber collapses  triggers another
pyroclastic surge which heads for Pompeii
 surge cloud runs out of energy just short of Northern wall
 cloud of toxic gas continues on  carbon dioxide & hydrogen chloride (acid burns eyes and
 from side of column, blistering wave of ash & rock explodes  ruins everything in path –
hottest and most devastating 100km/hr pyroclastic surge headed for Pompeii
 death for those in Pompeii not instant  first breath inhales hot gas & ash causing lungs to
fill w/ fluid – second breath mixes ash w/ fluid creating wet cement in lungs & windpipes –
third breath thickens cement causing gasps and suffocation
 Stabiae – after 18hrs of eruption bottom section of column collapses (Pliny the Elder dies)
 final & greatest surge travels across Bay of Naples in black cloud  final surge kills 1000s
who fled into countryside
 Pliny the Younger’s account not believed  known as Plinian eruptions
 in 18hrs 10 billion tonnes of pumice, rock and ash spewed by Vesuvius
rescue attempted by Rome
city buried and forgot
Pliny the Elder
 viewed eruption and went to Stabiae for better look where he was killed
 Pliny the Younger wrote report on Vesuvius and eruption – witnessed it from Misenum
early discoveries and the changing nature of excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries
Giuseppe Fiorelli, director 1860-1875
 most significant contribution was the mapping of Pompeii into regions, insulae and
numbered doorways
 his scaled map and 1:100 model of the town (1879) are accurate
 numbering system allowed any building to be precisely identified and used by Fiorelli at
Herculaneum  now standard on Roman sites
 excavated buildings from top down, room by room, shoring up the walls
 at Herculaneum worked along Cardo III and discovered Central Baths in 1874
 developed open-cut excavation at Herculaneum
 kept detailed records of his excavations and published bulletins of recent work and new
 his plaster casts of the human remains found in the ashes (1863 onwards) became famous
 showed no scientific interest in the study of the bones
 until 2015 plaster casts had long hindered scientists from properly studying any skeletal
material that mat have been preserved inside
Vittorio Spinazzola, director 1911-1924
 worked on the Via dell’Abbondanza at Pompeii
 concentrated not on the excavation of complete buildings  built on the reconstruction of
the streetscape
 replaced fallen second storeys and attempted to reproduce the street facades of buildings
 partial excavation of buildings at Pompeii and use of reinforced concrete resulted in
considerable conservation problems today
Amedeo Maiuri, director 1924-1961
 excavated major part of Herculaneum from under 20m of volcanic sludge
 influenced by Spinazzola, reconstructed fallen second storeys of buildings and largely
rebuilt excavated Roman structures of Herculaneum
 attempted to recreate an open-air museum of Roman life with objects and furnishings on
display in the houses
 at Pompeii continued excavation of Via dell’Abbondanza
 finished excavation and restoration of the Villa of the Mysteries and a no. of significant
 in 1950s directed the large-scale excavations in Regions I and II but is criticized for
unearthing area too hastily
representations of Pompeii and Herculaneum over time
Investigating and interpreting the sources for Pompeii and Herculaneum
 the evidence provided by the range of sources, including site layout, streetscapes, public
and private buildings, ancient writers, official inscriptions, graffiti, wall paintings, statues,
mosaics, human, animal and plant remains from Pompeii and Herculaneum, as relevant
- the economy: role of the forum, trade, commerce, industries, occupations
Industries and occupations
 trades known about are crafts which needed large-scale equipment
 included milling, baking, fulling, dying and tanning
 around 200 workshops of different kinds identified all over
 artisans include painters and mosaicists
 architects, bakers, auctioneers, bankers, carpenters, barbers, dyers, builders, doormen,
farmers, goldsmiths, engravers, fullers, porters, scribes, painters, prostitutes, wine-sellers,
tanners, weavers, wagon drivers, shoemakers, surgeons, sign-makers and stall-holders
 both situated in broad alluvial plain helpful for crops sown
 forested mountains provided good source for timber
 agriculture in area; wheat and barley, chickpeas, broad-beans, fruits and olives, vegetables
and orchards
 soil which surrounded volcano rich in minerals  could support vines for wine
 volcanic stone quarried for grindstones and building materials
 animals farmed were sheep and goats
 fish, shellfish and mussels obtained from Bay of Naples
 sheep used for meat and wool
 pigs bred for meat and skin
 Pompeii imported more goods than exported  famous and well-situated sea port, traders
from all over Mediterranean came w/ wine, pottery, olive oil and other foods and went
home w/ metalwork, wine, olive oil and garum from Pompeii
 because Herculaneum more resort area for rich and wealthy not main port of trade and
 archaeological evidence of business records from within Pompeii and Herculaneum show
wealthy individuals within towns owned farms situated outside city walls
 evidence of commercial activities such as banking and giving loans and mortgages recorded
on wax wooden tablets
 currency of Pompeii and Herculaneum was denarii  multiple coins found in Pompeii
the social structure: men, women, freedmen, slaves
 divided into 3 main categories of social class
 top  the nobles and rich able to live lavishly and easily
 middle were citizens and common folk who were free and able to either work for money or
be pampered by nobles
 bottom were slaves and servants
Patricians were nobles  did not mean were rich but meant they could eventually rise up
ranks to emperor  meant bloodline came from founding fathers of city of Rome
Equitaes were tax-collectors and businessmen
Plebeians were lower class  could be wealthy
most Romans could read and wrote  did not include slaves as were not citizens of Rome
 senatorial elite visited and owned areas of Pompeii and Herculaneum
 local town elite composed of wealthy landowners and traders involved in politics and
running of towns
 freeborn males could vote and enjoy patronage of those higher up
 women could own land, run business’ and become respected priestess’ (Eumachia)
 freedmen remained bound to masters after being manumitted from slavery and could
eventually become citizens
 slaves property of master and had to obey him  public slaves owned by State and could
work on major public projects
local political life: decuriones, magistrates, Comitium
 both had form of government following standard rules set out in law of Julius Caesar, the
Lex Iulia Municipalis (45 BC)
 Pompeii Roman colonia where veteran soldiers had been settled
 Herculaneum not Roman colony but was a municipium
 2 chief officials/magistrates called duumviri elected annually by citizens who met in voting
assembly (comitia)
 two lower officials/magistrates called aediles elected annually by citizens in comitia
 town council/curia not elected body  members chosen by duumviri who revised council
roll each 5th year
 graffiti found writing about politicians looking for offices  e.g. Balbus and Rufus
 political patronage by influential men from wealthy families who exercised influence over
poorer citizens and groups of craftsmen, dominated political life
 patrons offered dependent clients assistance and would build up support to win elections
 all paid homage to the Emperor in Rome with taxes
 imperium  ‘top power’  only emperor had
 Pompeii Municipia – a self-governing town w/ own annually elected officials
 would be ‘dictator’ at top in Rome in emergency for 6 months at a time  below would be
2 duumviri (Roman consuls), praefectus in emergencies, 10 decuriones (senior officials),
curia (after being elected in office, one became a senator) and aediles (who were
executives  look after games and kept street clean)
 Pompeii and Herculaneum politics modelled off Rome
 administered justice and were judges in town
 called together town council and presided over its meetings
 held highest executive offices in town
 responsible for public money and public works they supervised
 expected to use personal funds to provide buildings and benefactions for people
every 5 years revised roll of town council, removing and appointing members
 supervised marketplace and had responsibility for day-to-day town administration, upkeep
of temples and paving of streets
 common to pay for gladiatorial contests and entertainments  public benefactions help
them gain higher office
 comitia meeting of people held once a year to elect officials for coming year
 voted for in Voting Halls or Comitium near Forum
 did not meet during year  merely elected officials for the year
 all debates and decisions took place in council/curia
everyday life: housing, leisure activites, food and dining, clothing, health, baths,
water supply, sanitation
Leisure activities
 not required that freedmen work so days consisted of going to bars, gambling, drinking and
attending Roman Games at amphitheatre
 two theatres  one larger for spectacles and pantomime and smaller suited to music and
 those who worked would have worked for 6 hours between dawn and noon, leaving
afternoon for leisure
 gladiator fights popular  known through multiple inscriptions carved by women
throughout city of gladiator’s names
 fresco  2 men sitting at wooden table playing game of dice  in Roman Empire gambling
w/ dice illegal except during Saturnalia festival  in Roman literature gambling frowned
upon and immoral activity associated w/ drinking and violent arguments
popular past-time for rich
function not just bathing – place where rich could gather together and talk
Roman custom to visit baths daily for cleanliness, business and to meet friends
3 thermal baths located in Pompeii; Central, Stabian and Forum baths
each extended to account for growing populations
Caldarium was steam room and hot place  heated from underneath and then water
thrown onto floor – the under-floor heating and air ducts built into walls would have made
entire room full of steam when in use
cold water piped into separate room enabling bathers to cool off when they wanted
 Dionysius / Bacchus seen in fresco w/ Vesuvius and grapes  Pompeiians had high regard
for wine  had to be watered down
 another fresco depicts sale of bread  loaves of bread stacked on shop counter and
vendor handing them to customers
 poor used to be able to get free bread
historians think inhabitants of Pompeii bought daily bread from bakeries instead of making
it themselves
fresco showing banquet highlights importance of food as part of daily Roman life
taverns popular  over 100 taverns in Pompeii
thermopolia; bars which sold food and drink
had terracotta containers (dolia) sunk into masonry counter where hot food held for
some bars have decorated back rooms
historians theorise these places fast food restaurants
restaurant’s menu included cereal, soups, fish, eggs, cheese, garum and sauillum
(cheesecake w/ poppy seed glaze)
owners and servants used bronze pots and pans  original artefacts found in The House of
Vetti and found in kitchen
large selection of glass vessels discovered at Pompeii  bowl and saucepan like vessels
would have been used as part of dinner service
bottles and small jars would have once held perfume, some utensils and might used scoop
water from larger jars
silverware found at dig at Moregine, outside Pompeii  included plates, goblets, a tray,
spoons and drinking cups
 main dip in Pompeii was garum – sauce made by fermenting fish entrails  Pompeii’s
considered best in empire  main source of trade
 water could not be drunk straight (caused Typhus)  put wine in it
 cuisine sweet and sour  blend of sharp tastes with sweet tastes, like honey and figs
 eating habits differ between social classes
 slaves had high energy diet of bread, dried fruits, low-quality cheese and wine
 upper and middle classes had same food  wealthy larger quantities and finer ingredients
 within fast-food restaurant evidence of Mediterranean diet; seafood, legumes, fruits,
vegetables and some meat
 at back of shop where food contained w/ wine and oil
 utensils used for cooking
 typical desert consisted of vinegar and brine w/ onions
 1st century AD Latin writer on agriculture, Columella, has recipe on how to preserve onions
 placed in solution made of 2 parts vinegar and 1-part strong brine and left for 2 weeks
 eggs found intact within ruins of Pompeii
 related to Roman fashion
 on formal occasions upper class would wear togas – depicted in statues and paintings
 regular days males would wear tunic while females wore stola, maybe with palla, or
 woman’s undergarment called a peblos
Water supply
 throughout city were water fountains on side of streets where common people would get
 population’s water supply fed by aqueduct to public fountain
only houses of wealthiest citizens had indoor plumbing
others in neighbourhood had to carry water home from trough
lead pipes used for running water – Romans advanced due to ability to create easily
accessible water system
 lead pipes  poisoning
 theorised to be downfall of Roman Empire  make people go mad
 rich would have been most likely to get lead poisoning as had taps while poor had
 chemical analysis of skeletons in Pompeii show population generally healthy and wellnourished although some have signs of suffering from lead poisoning
 poisonous water would have caused much typhus and cholera within Pompeii and
 streets filled w/ carts pulled by horses  manure covered roads
 because of waste stepping stones built so people could cross streets without dirtying
 officials tasked w/ keeping streets clean
 for sanitation Forum and public baths would always have public latrine connected to them
 some houses connected to pit-like septic tank
 in Herculaneum long sewer hollow dug out under development on east of city, of which
palaestra was above  homes connected to massive pit through shafts from toilets
Public buildings and roads
 Pompeii city divided first into regione, then insulae and then houses
 divided by multiple streets
 paved w/ large polygonal blocks of lava stone and bordered by curbs and pedestrian
 on most streets are raised stones at regular intervals that pedestrians used to cross street
 convenient during flood times  stones split up w/ gaps so chariots able access streets
 streets thin one-way only
 had chariots and other horse-drawn vehicles common in that time
 streets bordered by shops and houses  unknown whether buildings two storeys as roofs
collapsed during eruption
 streets made from basalt  basalt stone result of lava which flowed from Vesuvius  used
to pave road and sidewalks in Pompeii
 in centre where mansions built around secluded gardens
 outer edge where small houses, shops and fast food restaurants sat
 gates leading out from Pompeii named according to cities led to e.g. Nucerian Gate,
Herculaneum Gate, Stabian Gate
 centre of city had Forum  main building  key feature of any Roman town
 all roads led to Forum  consisted of Temple of Jupiter, Temple of Apollo, Food Markets,
Building of Eumachia, Voting Halls (or Comitium) and Law Courts or Basilica
 decorated w/ columns and other ornaments and had excellent view of Mt Vesuvius
Eumachia building’s main industry maybe dying and processing of wool (a Fullonica) 
name comes from priestess who paid for building and who had plaque inscribed w/ her
name and sons
 Pompeii had major temples to Minerva, Jupiter, Apollo and Venus while both Pompeii and
Herculaneum had temple to Isis
 Temple of Apollo has italic and Greek architecture and rectangular plan  sacrificial altar
placed opposite flight of stairs which led to raised podium  two statues of Apollo and
Diana found within
 Temple of Jupiter in Forum was main centre of religious life  built in honour of Jupiter,
Juno and Minerva in 2nd century BC  was still being restored from earthquake in 62 AD
when Vesuvius erupted
 Temple of the Lares dedicated to protector gods of house and built by people in Pompeii
out of gratitude for having survived earthquake
 Temple of Vespasian had altar in marble and had been decorated w/ ‘sacrificial scenes’ 
dedicated to Imperial Cult and faced Forum  named after emperor Vespasian of Rome
who rules from 69 to 79 AD during Pompeii’s eruption
 Temple of Isis built using Greek style of architecture and was damaged in earthquake  is
cella of god raised on pedestal within niche  within temple water of Nile preserved
 Doric Temple in Herculaneum perceived as being temple to Hercules who was believed to
have founded settlement  overlooks Sarno River and visible to those who passed by at
 amphitheatre at Pompeii earliest known permanent stone amphitheatre in Roman world
 contained 2 entrances and thought to hold 20 000 people
 constructed after 70 BC at edge of town during period of Roman conquest and colonization
 source of entertainment for Romans who did not have to work  would gamble and watch
Roman Games (gladiator fights and chariot races)
 gladiator games played against neighbouring towns
 women not allowed to sit in front stands of amphitheatre
 gymnasium where gladiator’s trained
 place where young indoctrinated in Roman ideals
 built in days of Augustus
 central area for exercises and had 25m pool in courtyard
 above amphitheatre is ‘Gladiator House’
 large Theatre only theatre in Pompeii and built in 2nd century BC
 orchestra set in horseshoe shape w/ tiered seatings built along natural slope
 could accommodate 5 000 people at a time and included extra upper circle added on to
increase amount of seating available
 two side boxes where guests of honour would sit
 seating divided into 3 different areas by corridors
 consisted of stone stage and dressing room behind which traversed entire width of stage
Public sites
 used by all; laundry, fullonica and kitchens within restaurants
 fullonica where clothes dyed
 urine used to soften wool and get grease out
 people would walk in mixture of urine and clothes
 wool would be retrieved raw, spun and dyed
 purple popular colour for rich as was perceived as being regal – dye was retrieved from
Herculaneum main buildings
 main street where Ring Lady Skeleton found (one of the c. 300 skeletons found since 1982
in Herculaneum)
 said during eruption of Vesuvius 300 people ran to boathouses to be saved
 a Forum has not been found in Herculaneum  said the Forum located to west of main
street and holds same features as most fora
 multiple shops and buildings located on east side of town including palaestra, bakery and
multi-story dwellings
Villas, houses, shops
 houses were within city walls
 villas were homes outside the Pompeiian city walls and normally for rich
 poor lived in tenement blocks at edge of town and closer one was to centre of town,
wealthier they were
 slaves sometimes lived in wealthy’s homes although mostly lived in farms  were
collected from conquests
 excavations of Pompeii have revealed multiple types of stores; butcher shops, bakeries,
restaurants, inns, glass shops, pot shops, banks, mills, goldsmiths, jewelry stores, perfume
shops, fabric stores and fullers
 famous houses and shops; the House of Vetti, House of the Surgeon, Villa of Mysteries
(outside Herculaneum Gate), House of Menander (1st century AD), Bakery of Modestus
 within bakery skeletons of 7 mules and 4 donkeys found – grain crushed in past w/ help of
animals  oven preserved well  old quern stones w/ lime mortar residue found (residue
used to repair cracks in walls)
The House of the Surgeon
 example of what most houses in Pompeii and Herculaneum looked like
 one entrance and an atrium at entrance
 was hole in centre of roof w/ trough below to collect water
 room to right and left used for business and friends
 further in home would be courtyard surrounded by rooms (kitchen and bedrooms) in
classic peristyle
 sometimes houses had separate kitchen and most houses didn’t have bathrooms
 multiple surgeon tools found within house  for wealthy individual?
The House of Vetti 1st century AD
named after possible owners
signet rings of ‘Vetti brothers’ found
men thought to be freedmen who were wine merchants
house had ornate garden visible from front door of house
main room, atrium, had an open roof which baffled archaeologists  unknown why room
had no roof
found – stone cooking range and bronze cooking vessels within kitchen  historians say
cooking took place on top of range and that bronze pots placed on iron braziers over small
fresco within house shows carpenter with hammer and chisel carving notches in piece of
wood –rare evidence of a important craft in Pompeii
Pompeii house examples
 the House of the Papyri where multiple scrolls of papyri found in shelves
 shelves were holes in wall where few different scrolls w/ tags at end naming topic kept
 scrolls found blackened and melted into each other making them unreadable
 the Home of Tiberius Veris held complex baths, gardens w/ flowers and elaborate dining
 few explicit frescoes found within specific room prompted thought on particular use
Herculaneum house examples
 the House of the Hotel in Herculaneum called ‘hotel’ as has many rooms (1st century AD)
 like the House of the Wattlework
 most shops had another level above so owners could live on top of store
 significant houses; the Samnite House, the House of the Bronze Herm (3rd – 2nd century AD)
the House of the Mosaic Atrium and the House of the Stags (1st century AD)
 in countryside were working farms (villae rusticate)
religion: household gods, temples, foreign cults and religions, tombs
 religion of Romans based off Greek mythology
 Greek deities of Apollo, Heracles, Minerva, Dionysius, Demeter and Hermes particularly
worshipped within Pompeii and Herculaneum
 the Egyptian goddess Isis worshipped by all within Pompeii and Herculaneum
 religion part of daily public and private life
 in Pompeii were temples to Jupiter, Venus, Apollo, Mercury and Hercules
 rituals to these gods carried out
 in Forum were temples of Juno, Minerva and Jupiter, the Temple of the Lares and the
Temple of Vespasian
Household gods
 lararium shown in The House of Vetti
 lararia were shrines to gods of household  found in different shapes and sizes in
Pompeiian homes
 range from simple wall-paintings to large and elaborate shrines in family side of atrium
 there were daily, special ceremonies offered to these deities
the Cult of Mithras had virgin birth, single god and drinking of blood
Mithras was god of light who came from coast of Western Turkey (Tarsus, where St Paul
was from)
had some popularity in Pompeii and Herculaneum
Imperial Cult extremely popular and was worship of the emperor  at the time of eruption
Vespasian was emperor
evidence of fresco depicting worship of Dionysius in Villa of Mysteries in Herculaneum
Jews and Christians believed to have lived in Pompeii, given inscriptions to do w/ their
figurine of Hindu goddess found – said to be Lakshimi, fertility goddess
evidence of cult of Sabazius, Thracian fertility god  shrine unearthed contained 2
terracotta vases w/ offerings
Roman state cult
 centred on public worship of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva  deities worshipped at Rome at
 priesthoods very prestigious and filled by members of town council and magistrates
 Temple of Jupiter dominated forum at Pompeii
 Capitolium at Herculaneum remains unexcavated
 public worship involved animal sacrifice in front of temple and offering of incense
Imperial cult
 from time of Augustus imperial ruler cult, influenced by Greek hero cults and concepts of
divine kingship, developed in Roman world
 at Herculaneum there was an Augusteum w/ huge statues of the emperor and Augustales,
priests of the cult of the emperors
 at Pompeii there was a temple of Fortuna Augusta and one dedicated to the genius (divine
spirit) of Augustus
 not hidden but constructed near gates and outside city walls of Pompeii and Herculaneum
 there is a necropolis along near every road going into Pompeii
 decorated w/ columns, frescoes, statues, pilasters and mosaics
 some tombs had terracotta panels which depicted scenes from the owner’s life
 if body cremated ashes placed in urn and then placed in niche within tomb
 offerings to dead placed on flat stones and a trincilium was where banquets in dead
person’s honour held
the influence of Greek and Egyptian cultures: art and architecture
Greek influence
 both towns in early stages had distinctly Greek character due to deliberate use of Greek
architectural elements
 early Pompeii and Herculaneum under strong cultural influence of Cumae and Neapolis,
Greek settlements in Bay of Naples, and Poseidonia, on south coast, outside bay
 influenced by Hellenistic cities of East  copied elements of Greek architecture and civic
late 2nd century BC Samnite House at Herculaneum example of Hellenistic in style
Greek architectural orders – Doric, Ionic and Corinthian – employed form early time at
Pompeii and Herculaneum
sports field (palaestra), market place (agora) and theatre key Greek civic spaces
early Triangular Forum at Pompeii w/ impressive entrance way (propylaeum) of 6 ionic
columns and colonnade of 95 Doric columns also reveal early Greek influence
Greek deities such as Apollo and Venus worshipped long before Roman state gods
Herculaneum named after Greek god Herakles
Dionysius, Greek god of wine, fertility and spiritual intoxication was worshipped
Greek-style field athletics practiced
Egyptian influence
 cult of Isis  well established at Pompeii  temple of Isis first built before Romans gained
control of Pompeii
 temple of Isis found in Herculaneum due to inscription on front alongside 15 statues of
goddess Isis showing domestic worship
 in House of the Golden Cupids at Pompeii lararium shrine in peristyle features depictions of
Egyptian cult objects and images of Isis, Anubis, Serapis and Harpocrates
 an alabastar statuette of Horus, son of Isis, found in House of the Golden Cupids at Pompeii
 statuette of Isis suckling baby Horus recovered from domestic context at Herculaneum
 glazed terracotta statuette of god Bes, protector on childbirth, recovered from the House
of Loreius Tiburtinus at Pompeii
 frescoes made using wet plaster and paint  in Herculaneum fresco depicts Cult and
worship of Isis  brought from Egypt goddess grew into major cult within Rome  in
fresco high priest stands at entrance to temple and looks down on ceremony being
supervised by priests w/ shaven heads  one priest tends sacred fire and another leads
the faithful in worship  daily rites conducted in temples and within homes
Reconstructing and conserving the past
 changing interpretations: impact of new research and technologies
Ancient paintings
 from 1970s American archaeologist Wilhelmina Jashemski pioneered new work on
reconstruction of ancient gardens, orchards and vineyards at and near Pompeii by taking
plaster casts of plant roots
the Anglo-American project in Insula VI.1 at Pompeii established through a study of refuse
that pigs most popular source of meat, followed by sheep and chickens  meat from cattle
from 1995 to 2004 Andrew Jones of the University of Bradford studied quantities of
recovered fish bone from Insula VI.1 at Pompeii and established fish did not play large part
in diet of people there
in 1990s Mark Robinson, University of Oxford, worked on refuse deposits in Region One at
Pompeii  found that kitchen and table waste included olive stones, walnut shells,
fishbones and shellfish  latrine deposits yielded many fig pips, cereal bran, seeds and
small fish bones
in 2014 and 2015 Mark Robinson and Erica Rowan published findings of investigation of
Cardo V sewer line at Herculaneum  macro-botanical material found in materialised form
 established figs, grapes, olives, eggs, fish and shellfish commonly eaten foods
Fuelling Pompeii
 in 2014 Robyn Veal undertook scientific studies of ancient timber and charcoal remains
that established mountain origin of woods used for building and fuel
New advanced technologies for reading texts
 in 2007 Lidia Falcone and colleagues used Near Infrared Reflectography to read the text of
a damaged painted notice on a water tower at Herculaneum
 in 2001 scholars working on papyrus texts from the Villa of the Papyri used NASAdeveloped multi-spectral imaging to read the writing
 in 2015 a team led by Vito Mocella from the University of Naples employed X-ray phasecontrast imaging to virtually ‘unroll’ a curved papyrus scroll and then read the writing
issues of conservation and reconstruction: Italian and international contributions and
Issues of conservation and reconstruction
 by 1990s Pompeii and Herculaneum state of crisis due to chronic lack of funding
 led to lack of basic maintenance over many years
 problem compounded by inappropriate materials used in earlier 1920s and 1930s
restorations and damaged by earthquake and millions of tourists
 Roman buildings endangered and on point of collapse
 being overcome by weeds and vines  overrun by wild cats and dogs  looting
 hot climate means multiple weeds grow everywhere – money produced from tourist fees
and donations goes to killing weeds
 lack of money being invested in real conservation of site
 need to record notable houses, contents and features  need to set-up online database to
record findings of the site
 directors appointed by Italy to manage site have shifted focus from excavation to
conservation since 1960s
 recently state of emergency w/ Pompeii and Herculaneum declared  ministers intend to
appoint special commissioner to oversee both sites
 Antonio Irlando, the regional councillor responsible for artistic heritage, mentioned that,
“every year at least 150 sqm of fresco and plasterwork are lost for lack of maintenance.”
 in 1997 Pompeii and Herculaneum World Heritage listed due to unique prospect of having
captured moment in history w/ outstanding accuracy
 in 2000 ICOMOS filed report for ancient sites stating they suffered from physical and
climatic influences (heat and humidity), decay of frescoes, use of unsuitable conservation
and restoration materials, inadequate roofing, neglect and vegetation and microbiological
infestation  also mentioned sites have received little attention and consideration
The Herculaneum Conservation Project
 established 2001 by David Packard  collab with British School at Rome and US-based
Packard Foundation  significant for academic advice and funds, respectively
 aim to support local heritage authority in conservation of site
 problems identified include deterioration of frescoes, water damage and animal damage
 aim to slow decay, test and implement long-term conservation strategies, provide
knowledge and documentation of Herculaneum for future reference, gain archaeological
knowledge, conserve and improve access to artefacts found and promote greater
consideration of Herculaneum by the scientific and general community
 since 2002 project greatly influenced and helped Herculaneum  2011: 85 leaking roofs
replaced, 2000 2/3 of site closed and reopened in 2013
 have created accurate and up-to-date database on excavations and photographs,
excavated new areas, conserved older areas and reconstructed artefacts
Great Pompeii Project
 in 2010 collapse of House of Gladiators brought allegations of neglect and misuse
 in 2013 ICOMOS-UNESCO reported issues w/ water damage, need for tourist management
and inadequate conservation
 European Union and Italian government teamed up to spend 105 million euro on
conservation and management of Pompeii by end of 2015
 created The Great Pompeii Project which looked at conservation, maintenance and
restoration issues in Pompeii to fix them
 brought Pompeii from being listed under ‘World Heritage in Danger’ and have conserved
most buildings in Pompeii in dire need
 project ensured until end of 2019
 the Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project privately funded organisation by large
number of research facilities globally who’ve decided to study long-term sustainable
conservation and restoration strategies in Pompeii  said this project will come into play
after 2019 when Great Pompeii Project ends
ethical issues: excavation and conservation, study and display of human remains
Excavation and conservation
 archaeological ethics hold that archaeologists should make it a primary goal to identify,
protect and conserve archaeological resources
 methods used for conservation and restoration are governed by international code of
ethics known as Venice Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and
 require archaeologists to focus on excavation and conservation of endangered sites rather
than sites not under threat
 conservation considered desirable so future archaeologists have database to work from
 in 1999 Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, then superintendent at Pompeii, declared a moratorium on
all further excavations of both Pompeii and Herculaneum
 ushered in period of debate among historians and archaeologists on whether to focus on
conservation or excavation
 in Pompeii 44 of the 66 hectares of urban area are visible  generally agreed the other 22
hectares must be left unexcavated to preserve them for the future
some classicists argued for continuing excavations in hope of finding more texts revealing
ancient Roman life
the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum is at the centre of the debate because it could
contain more of the carbonized rolls already discovered  scientific breakthroughs made
by reading them
debate renewed in 2016 when a group of British, American and French scholars called for
excavation of the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum to be resumed  wrote to the Times
newspaper insisting that the excavation of the Villa had to be completed
World Heritage site’s management plan of 2017 says no plans to excavate further at this
time  lack of staff already prevents significant proportion of the sites already excavated
from being visited  any excavation will be limited to the completion of sites already
partially uncovered
Study and display of human remains
 researchers required by institutions and museums to abide by professional code of ethics
 to treat human remains w/ respect and care
 the display of human remains is still occasionally justified on the grounds of scientific or
educational necessity  not to be a form of entertainment
 a code of ethics developed in 2006 by the International Council of Museums
 the ICOM established a no. of guidelines for the collection, study and display of human
 it mandated that if human remains displayed ‘they must be presented with great tact and
respect for the feelings of human dignity of all peoples’ (Ethics 4.3)
 practice at The British Museum, the Museum of London and the Manchester Museum is to
handle and display human remains with the utmost respect
 signs outside display room alert people who might find the display of human remains to be
 signs call for ‘respective behaviour’
 displays are designed to be science-based and educational
 a didactic purpose is sometimes used to justify the showing of actual remains
 other museums prefer to display casts, photographs or replicas rather than the actual
human remains
 in Italy there is no public debate about the ethics of displaying ancient human remains
 at Pompeii, as recently as 2015, casts of the victims were displayed to tourists in a new
exhibition without any concern for the ICOM code of ethics
 at Herculaneum the actual bones of the victims are not displayed in the boatsheds but
casts of the skeletal forms are shown instead
 known for life-like casts of last positions of those who died in eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79
 way these casts were made was when bodies covered w/ ash, pumice and other volcanic
debris after person’s death  inside of bodies rotted away leaving void filled w/ bones
 when the hollow casts found by Giuseppe Forelli, plaster was used to fill void to recreate
last moments of those who died due to Vesuvius
 researching of the casts has given historians and archaeologists great insight into the
ancient world of Pompeii
 recently 2 specific casts have been put through CT scans for information
o 1st cast was the alleged ‘Moor’  9th cast ever made – had flared lips characteristic
of African race  iron bar found in hand possibly for escape  is naked from waist
down possibly meaning were gladiator or slave  CT scan revealed was a juvenile
male (around 15 years old) and white
o 2nd cast was ‘Cast No. 10’  part of large group who died trying to escape through
main gate  was 15th victim outside putimola  supposed male tried to escape
with worldly goods  CT scan revealed body looked female due to hip bones
researching human remains holds multiple possibilities for further enlightenment about
display of those human remains, while not respectful of those who died, allows general
public to experience history, learn something for themselves and appreciate the past
problem can be fixed through displaying copies of original casts and transporting those
around the globe or displaying them at the ancient site
real casts can be re-buried, and the victims of Vesuvius can rest peacefully
another way to fix problem is through holographic displays – real people can be simulated
to create a real and true experience of what life was like in Pompeii and Herculaneum, and
in their last moments
value and impact of tourism: problems and solutions
 world captivated by sites since discovery  boosted enthusiasm for ancient history
 Pompeii receives 2.5 million tourists per year whilst Herculaneum has over 500 000
 cost of entry in Pompeii 20 euros each person
 large number of tourists and lack of funds creating problem w/ pollution and vandalism
 trampling of ancient pavements and lead pipes, carving of people’s names on buildings and
stealing of fragments greatly impacted Pompeii particularly
 difficult to protect because of size
 though dogs patrol premises, artefacts still stolen
 entry payments to Pompeii added in 1998 not enough to protect site
 in World Heritage Report of 2017 a sustainable tourist system discussed  divert tourists
from Pompeii to other ruins of Vesuvius, e.g. Herculaneum and Oplontis
 visitor quotas and themed itineraries also discussed as being practical way to control
 in 1990 armed robbers stole approximately 250 artefacts from skeletons on beach, which
had been stored
 donations from America sent to Herculaneum to improve gutters, drainage and droppings
of pigeons not been able to greatly impact site
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