Assess the Changing Methods and Contributions of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Archaeologists to Our Understanding of Pompeii and Herculaneum

612 Words Jul 11th, 2012 3 Pages
Over the past centuries, since its discovery in 1749, many archaeologists have contributed to our understanding of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Archaeologists were initially focused on excavating, most of which were improperly done causing extensive damage. It wasn’t until the 19th century, when archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli introduced new excavation methods; those succeeded him include August Mau, Vittorio Spinazzola and Amendo Maiuri. Now attention has shifted towards conservations and restorations which are reflected in the works of Fausto Zevi and Pier Guzzo.

Giuseppe Fiorelli was appointed director of the archaeological site of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 1860 and was the first who introduced top-down excavation which combined
…show more content…
Spinazzola introduced photography to record the stages of his excavation, an example of a conservation technique. His work enables us to learn about the streetscapes of Pompeii.

Amendo Maiuri grand vision was to reconstruct the entire site to its original appearance. He excavated right around the walls of Pompeii, uncovering the cemetery as well as significant buildings eg. insulaes along the via dell’ Abbondanza, the amphitheatre and the palaestra. Maiuri used mechanical equipment to clear away debris from earlier excavations and to assist in areas that previously had been considered too hard to excavate. As part of conservation, Maiuri restored the walls and ceilings and erected roofs for protection. However, he was criticized for excavations that were done too quickly with little documentation. Some excavated buildings were unprotected and wall paintings faded without ever being recorded. However, Maiuri’s great enthusiasm for the site and the important buildings he uncovered, attracted many tourists and made Pompeii well known internationally.

Following 1977, Fausto Zevi halted excavations and started focusing on conservations instead as both Pompeii and Herculaneum were “dying a second death” due to improper excavations exposure to natural elements. Zevi recorded the uncovered buildings and took many photographs, resulting in over 1800 photos.

In 1995, Pier Guzzo oversaw many restoration developments.
Open Document