Pompeii unveiled: Jaw-dropping drone footage shows extent of city’s excavation

Pompeii is one of the most significant proofs of Roman civilization and, like an open book, provides outstanding information on the art, customs, trades and everyday life of the past.

The city has re-emerged from the darkness of centuries precisely as it would have been when it was unexpectedly buried in the thick layer of ash and lava which poured down from the devastating eruption of Vesuvius. It was the year 79 A.D. The scale of the tragedy was appalling: in what had been one of the most active and splendid Roman centres, life came to a permanent standstill.

The thick layer of volcanic material which submerged it, made up to a large extent of ash and lapilli – non-hard material, unlike that which covered Herculaneum and which solidified into extremely hard stone -has meant that the city has remained intact until the present day, not only as far as its buildings are concerned, but also as regards the contents inside the houses and shops, providing an absolutely fascinating picture of “daily” life.

The walls of the houses are covered with electoral propaganda messages or risque jokes aimed at particular citizens. The signs on the shop doorways indicate the activity carried out there or the name of the owner. Alongside the elegant villas belonging to the nobility and the luxurious residences of the middle class, stand modest houses where several families lived.

The peasant dwellings on the other hand are situated around vegetable gardens or small plots of land. On the edge of the city stood the brothels, squalid rooms intended as places of pleasure for sailors and travellers passing through, in the narrow lanes, the workshops and utility rooms provide further evidence of the daily routine performed by workmen and slaves as well as the women of the house. The houses still contain furniture, ornaments, gold and silverware, work tools, kitchenware, bronze and terracotta lamps, foodstuffs of all kinds, counters for serving drinks, grain mills and grindstones, workshops for manufacturing cloth, smithies and outlets selling groceries, fruit and vegetables.

LE TOMBE DELLA NECROPOLI DI PORTA STABIA Recenti indagini archeologiche presso la necropoli di Porta Stabia forniscono nuovi elementi utili a comprendere la complessa articolazione spaziale di quest’area di Pompei, che presto sarà restituita alla pubblica fruizione. Lungo la via Stabiana, immediatamente fuori l’omonima porta di accesso alla città antica, in un’area adiacente alla tomba monumentale di Gnaeus Alleius Nigidius Maius, portata alla luce lo scorso anno, sono stati avviati alla fine del 2017 interventi di restauro e valorizzazione di altre due monumenti funebri. Si tratta di due tombe a camera denominate “Tomba A” e “Tomba B” già scavate nel 2001 e ubicate in uno spazio delimitato da un marciapiede e da muretto in opera reticolata parzialmente rivestito di intonaco. Le attività di scavo sono state finalizzate a rimettere in luce e a documentare il percorso stradale. Il basolato stradale infatti era interamente ricoperto da uno spesso strato di accumulo alluvionale che ha restituito una grande quantità di reperti ceramici, in vetro come unguentari e pedine ma anche un anello d’oro con teste di serpente affrontate e con occhi in pasta vitrea. All’interno di entrambe le tombe sono state rinvenute urne cinerarie. L’accesso ad una delle tombe (A) è chiuso da una porta in calcare sulla quale sono leggibili due tituli picti. La porta presenta all’esterno un anello in ferro e un sistema di chiusura sulla parte interna in bronzo, e cardini in bronzo. La porta era chiusa al momento dello scavo ed è stata aperta per i lavori di restauro, mostrando il perfetto funzionamento, a 2000 anni di distanza, del sistema di chiusura romano. Sulla parte superiore della porta è presente un’iscrizione, un titulus pictus, che riporta “Iarinus Expectato / ambaliter unique sal(utem) / Habito sal(utem)” “Iarinus saluta Expectato, amico per sempre; saluti a Habito”. Sopra il nome di Habito qualcuno disegnò un fallo. • • Pompeii, restoration project of the tombs of the Stabian Gate. A golden ring from the new excavations in the necropolis.

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There is a remarkable record of Roman painting, of which, without the finds made in Pompeii, virtually nothing would be known.

The architecture and development of the various types of houses is also amply documented. Thus the excavated city provides outstanding historical evidence of Roman civilization: these reminders of the past, which are so vivid and tangible in the remains brought to light, contribute to the fascination of the present.

 

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