Monday, January 18, 2010

Pre Field Update 2010

G'day everyone and Happy New Year
2010 promises to be a big year for me and the blogsite.
I have been continuing to post news and information about the Vesuvian cities, and other Ancient History topics that are related to your HSC studies. Where possible I provide suggestions for further research, activities or resources that will be useful for you.
2009 ended with the completion with my BA in Archaeology and Ancient History at Macquarie University and as those who follow this blogsite would be well aware that I spent my first field season as a volunteer archaeological team member in Pompeii with the Pompeii Food and Drink Project. I learned so much from the 3 PI's and the PhD and MA students and archaeologists there about the ancient city from the point of view of an archaeologist in the field. It was an amzing experience and one which I am eager to replicate as I again this year become part of the team in the ancient city.
We are still exactly 6 months to the day away from starting work in Pompeii. My flights are done and I look forward to the pre field information as it is sent about this year's work. I am extremely excited that this year will be 3 weeks in the field and now that I am more prepared for the internet situation in Pompeii I am planning to post more from the site than I did last season...including video perhaps. I would like to make this field work time I am spending at the site as interactive as possible for you so please post me emails or comments to the blogsite that I can work on whilst there.
I am also hoping to put together a HSC study conference for students at my local schools later in the year which will include various panels of experts in the field to speak with students and answer questions. I hope to reproduce some of that here.
I look forward to bringing you as much information as I can to assist in your studies this year.

Graffiti on the Walls of Pompeii

Graffiti is an excellent archaeological source of information for those studying Pompeii. A number of excellent publications including Alison Cooley's Pompeii: A Sourcebook will outline in detail much of the Graffiti found on the walls of the ancient city. Those who have had a chance to go to Sydney University's HSC Study Day's over the past couple of years will have also seen Dr. Peter Keegan speak on the topic.

The information that follows comes from the recent Archaeological Institute of America Conference in Anaheim California (January 2010)

Graffiti on the walls in Pompeii
News from the Archaeological Institute of America's annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif.
By Bruce Bower
January 30th, 2010; Vol.177 #3 (p. 14)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Well-off homeowners living in the Roman city of Pompeii more than 2,000 years ago could read the writing on their own walls, and apparently didn’t mind the spontaneous scrawling. Citizens of Pompeii scratched out graffiti on the walls of private residences to share creative greetings, welcomes and salutations to friends, Rebecca Benefiel of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., reported on January 8.

Many elite Pompeii dwellings bear dozens of graffiti messages on their walls, Benefiel notes. She studied 41 examples of written graffiti spread across two stories of one such house. Most graffiti appeared on walls in well-traveled areas, such as an entrance area and near stairways. Different people wrote messages back-and-forth to one another on the walls, sometimes in the form of poetry, Benefiel says. Graffiti writers intended to have their product read by an audience, she suggests.

Graffiti in the Pompeii house are generally small and unobtrusive. “Defacement did not motivate those who wrote on these walls,” Benefiel says. She also identified 12 instances of graffiti images in the ancient house. These drawings portrayed boats, animals, a palm frond and a man. A few areas contained graffiti consisting of a series of Roman numerals that were possibly used in number games, in Benefiel’s view

How are the needs of tourists catered for in Pompeii

It's been no secret that tourism was dealt a blow in Pompeii with the shutting of the only ammenties building within the walls of the ancient city of Pompeii more than 2 years ago. Problems with the local mafia and tendering processes left tourists without toilets and food within the site.
Today, a report on the ammenities recently opened from the view of a construction company providing the doors for the new Cafeteria.

Ditec automatic doors in the excavations of Pompeii

Boasting over 2 millions visitors a year, the archaeological site of Pompeii is the second most visited archaeological site in the world and has been selected by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Pompeii represents one of the most significant examples of Roman civilization and is like an exceptional open book on artworks, habits, trades and daily life of past civilizations. The city resurfaced after centuries of darkness exactly as it was, when it was suddenly covered by a thick layer of ashes and lava during the devastating eruption of mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

In this astounding setting, inside the excavations overlooking the "Casa Bacco", right in the heart of the ancient city, a new cafeteria run by Autogrill Spa has been opened. To make it easier for the large flow of tourists to visit this exceptional artistic and cultural heritage, the restaurant has been fitted with the most modern and technologically advanced Ditec automatic doors: the new VALOR model.

Australians in Pompeii

The following article comes out of the University of Queensland. HSC students should note that a number of Australian archaeologists are a part of International teams working in the Vesuvian cities. The contribution of International teams has been invaluable to both the study of Pompeii and Herculaneum as well as pumping research and conservation funds into the ancient sites. Remember also that there is very little actual excavation currently happening in Pompeii.

After reading this article, using your internet resources, look up the contributions of other Australians in the field including Dr's Steven Ellis, Estelle Lazer and Jaye McKenzie- Clarke.

UQ archaeology digs into the life behind Pompeii

Brisbane may be 2000 years and half-a-world away from Pompeii, but it hasn't stopped a UQ archaeologist from digging up some hidden treasures.

Dr Andy Fairbairn, a senior lecturer in archaeology with UQ's School of Social Science, is working on a project looking at the life inside one of the world's most famous dig sites.

“The archaeology at Pompeii has moved on over the last 30 years, away from the big ticket items of the temples and the like to the minutiae of what everyday life was like in the ancient Roman city,” Dr Fairbairn said.

He does this by collecting samples from what would have been the toilets of the day to see the types of food were eaten.

“This type of archaeology is a bit slower than unearthing buildings, but it is very valuable as it allows us to piece together a picture of the economic and social development of the city,” he said.

“Even if we have to go through 2000 year old excrement to do it.”

He said his team of volunteer archaeology students patiently go through hundreds of bags of samples collected in Pompeii, looking for seeds and other plant material to build up a picture of what was being eaten and traded.

“Samples come from an excavation near one of the main entrances to the city led by Australian ex-pat Dr Steven Ellis (Cincinnati, USA), on the way to the theatre and gladiators,” he said.

“And what the excavation is showing so far is that the city was moving away from the production of goods in dispersed cottage industries to more specialised industrial production and trading,” he said.

Dr Fairbairn said while it may seem strange to have an Australian archaeology team working on ancient Roman sites, UQ's reputation in the field was strong, especially in archaeological science.

“Across UQ we have a very strong archaeology group doing work all over the world, including Turkey, India, Africa, Hawaii and Central America” he said.

“Due to the profession being quite small in Australia, we often specialise in a particular area and then collaborate with other groups around the world as appropriate.”

(Taken from the University Of Queensland News webpage 25/11/09)