Pompeii and Herculaneum: Contributions of 19th and 20th Century Archaeologists

Topics: Pompeii, Archaeology, Giuseppe Fiorelli Pages: 3 (1203 words) Published: March 31, 2014
Topic of study: changing (archaeological/scientific) methods and contributions of nineteenth and twentieth century archaeologists to our understanding of Pompeii and Herculaneum Since the discovery and beginning of excavations at the sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum from the early eighteenth century, archaeologists have made many constructive impacts on the site which have led to our understanding of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The first attempts to excavation methodology at the site of Pompeii appears to have occurred in the early nineteenth century during the period of the French control of Naples (1806- 1815). At this point in time, excavation techniques and methods changed dramatically to be more organised and systematic. The French wanted to excavate the site of the town methodically from west to east and at some points employed up to 1500 workmen to excavate. These efforts led to the discoveries of the Forum, Terme (suburban baths), Casa di Pansi, the Casa di Sallustio and the Casa del Chirurgo. By 1860, most of the western part of Pompeii had been excavated. Like Pompeii, the excavations at Herculaneum began in the early eighteenth century, but it wasn’t until later on that systematic methods and techniques were used on the site. Karl Weber, a Swiss architect was one of the first archaeologists to work on the site of Herculaneum methodically. From the early 1860’s to 1875, Giuseppe Fiorelli directed the excavations at the site of Pompeii. He introduced a new system of excavating which was to uncover the streets first, in order to excavate the houses from the ground floor up. This system was a better way of preserving everything that was discovered. The next archaeological contribution that Fiorelli had made was that he took the topography of the town of Pompeii, developed a grid system and used different terms to identify particular regions of the town. This system allowed the town to be divided into ‘regiones’, ‘insulae’ and ‘domus’ which made it much...
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