Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Field Work update

Hi all from the Scavi here in Pompeii.
Well I hope the Lararium research is going well and believe me the whole religion aspect associated with both homes and commercial business is pretty interesting.
Primarily the work of the Pompeii Food and Drink Project is to record and publish data and research about aspects of the site of Pompeii that specifically are associated with food and drink. It is an important and interesting research project. Important because the principal goal is the preserving both visually and in written form aspects of Pompeii that literally disappear day to day. Paintings for example that are clear or in reasonable condition can be totally lost to history by the next season simply through the natural degredation of the site.

In the next day or two I will give you a run down of the various duties that the researchers and archaeologists are performing on a day to day basis, including your's truely. I am the colour and black and white film records photographer. I am also on a remediation team that revisits early work of the project and fills in some of the blanks with lost research.
Remember that very little excavation is occuring in Pompeii. There is almost a complete ban on it. The important work currently being done in the city are by research teams such as ours.
I also have a number of activities to post using some of the images I have taken whilst here. These will include activities on streetscapes, wall structures and garum and wine production.

Well its back to work. Keep an eye out over the next day or two for my next update.



Monday, June 29, 2009

Pompeii 2009 Field Season

Hi everyone.

Well I am finally here in Pompeii. It's June/July so tourist numbers are high and so are the temperatures. Hot and humid with afternoon showers have been to order of the day. This is the start of my season with with the Pompeii Food and Drink Project and my chance to share with you some of what we do on an archaeological research team. You will get the chance to look at some of the interesting things I find while in the scavi and complete some research activities of your own.

Activity 1

Larariums are common in Pompeiian households and commercial properties, especially where that business is related to the serving of food such as bars and tabernae. What is the role or purpose of the Lararium?
It is interesting that Larariums can take different forms, inset into walls or as painted frescos.

Above is a Lararium painted on the wall of a shop we worked in today. It is of the fresco variety in a kitchen area of the building over the cooking platform. Why was it there specifically? What purpose did it serve? Other Larariums are in the same premises. Why so many?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Urban myths of the Ancient World

Hi all,
thanks to Jackie and Bob at pompeiiinpictures there is some talk about an urban myth that I had not heard before. Remember that pompeiiinpictures is a great resource and a link to it is also found on the History Teachers Association of NSW website in the links section.

Delta the dog of (Pompeii or) Herculaneum

There is a reference to this myth or truth in a book of 1822 but there is no source information quoted to prove this as myth or fact. There are references to the dog being found in Herculaneum and the the collar, with a Greek inscription, being (then) in the Gallery of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. (Other versions elsewhere refer simply to the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum).
The story is not about the dog that was chained up. It's about the dog who was protecting a child that day in 79 AD. The story reads that a dogs skeleton was found laying over the body of a child about the age of ten or twelve. The dog had a silver collar that was engraved with his name "Delta" and it also recounted how he had saved his master, Severinus (Severino) from death on three occasions. Some accounts say the child was Severinus, and some say he was the son of Severinus.
A rather touching story although it didn't end well for either the dog or the child.

A researcher is currently trying to prove the story by finding the collar which seems to have vanished over time. I'll let you know if any more comes of this.

Herculaneum Treat

Hi all.
A really nice letter arrived today from Sarah Court at the Herculaneum Conservation Project. She has arranged special access for me to some of the closed to the public areas of Herculaneum and also to the new excavation areas in the city.
I look forward to bringing you some pictures and activities for Herculaneum from July 2-5. A big thanks to Sarah.
Don't forget....Herculaneum, although treated like Pompeii's poorer cousin by some in the HSC, is an integral part of the course and your responses to source based questions. With new excavation work in the city (which is only 1/3 excavated) especially at the beachfront where the famous skeletal remains were found, it's an exciting time to be in Herculaneum.
Join us for some up to date pictures and information.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

VIDEO: Unveiling the past

A Day In Pompeii

The Melbourne Museum will host from June till October "A Day in Pompeii". The exhibition features artefacts from the buried city including frescos, everyday items, gladiator helmets and plaster casts of the dead. Click on the video link below to see a news clip on the exhibition.
If you are a student studying the HSC in Ancient History, this is one exhibition you will not want to miss. The only other way to see this material would be to visit the Naples Museum in Italy where it is usually housed.
Information on the exhibition can be found at http://museumvictoria.com.au/pompeii

VIDEO: Unveiling the past

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lost Artifact from Pompeii recovered

Thanks to "Blogging Pompeii" for this piece of news. HSC students, this fits into the category of Ethics and who owns the past.

ICE Seizes a Cultural Artifact Reported Stolen in Italy Almost 12 Years Ago
Posted: 02 Jun 2009 01:05 AM PDT
This from artdaily.org:
NEW YORK, NY.- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today seized a Pompeii wall panel fresco from a Manhattan auction house that was reported stolen in Italy 12 years ago. The fresco panel, which was the subject of an international search by INTERPOL, was located by the Art Loss Register of New York and brought to the attention of ICE and Italian Authorities. Italian authorities provided ICE agents via the ICE attaché in Rome with information and documents identifying the fresco panel as stolen and part of the cultural property of Italy. The panel, rectangular with a white background depicting a female minister, white wash on plaster with a modern wooden frame, was previously located at the excavation office in Pompeii and was reported stolen with five other fresco panels on June 26, 1997. The investigation revealed that, between 1903 and 1904, the Italian government authorized a farmer, Giuseppe De Martino, to restore his farmhouse, which was located on an archeological site in Boscoreale, province of Naples. During the restoration, six important frescos, originating from Pompeii were found. On July 12, 1957, the Government of Italy purchased the frescos. On June 26, 1997, after the completion of work to the excavation site, the Italian government observed that the six frescos were missing and subsequently reported the theft. The Carabinieri cultural patrimony unit previously recovered the other five of the six frescos. "We are pleased to assist in the recovery of this fresco panel. It completes the collection of the six panels reported stolen from the Italian government close to 12 years ago." said Peter J. Smith, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New York. "ICE applauds the ALR for coming forward with information on the whereabouts of this precious cultural artifact, which will soon be returned to the Italian government.