Pompeii

Events

The beginning of the discovery of Pompeii

1580

Domenica Fontana, an architect discovered slabs of marble and frescoed wall when undertaking a civil engineering project.

Francesco Pichetti

1689

Architect Francesco Pichetti came across a stone inscribed 'Decurio Pompeiis' but believed it referred to Roman General Pompey.

Discovery of Herculaneum

1709

Herculaneum was discovered by Austrian general, Count D'Elbeuf.

Start of excavation program

1734

Bourbon ruler, Charles VII of Naples, initiated an exploration and excavation program.

Visitation of Herculaneum

1740

Englishmen Horace Walpole and poet Thomas Gray were able to visit Herculaneum and were astonished with the excavations.

Treasure of Herculaneum

1748

The flow of treasure from Herculaneum dried up and so the king gave De Alcubierre permission to dig into the civitis mound (Pompeii) with a crew of slave labourers.

Discovery of the Villa of Papyri

1750

King appointed Karl Weber to join the excavation team under Alcubierre at Herculaneum. He believed provenance and record keeping was important. His work led to the discovery of the Villa of Papyri with a library of 1800 carbonished rolls.

Herculaneum Academy

1755

The Herculaneum Academy was founded.

Identification of Pompeii

1763

An inscription respublica Pompeianorium (Commonwealth of Pompeii) was discovered in the Street of Tombs positively identifying the site of Pompeii.

Odeon and Temple of Isis Discovery

1764

Weber died and was replaced by Spanish engineer Francesco La Vega who believed in uncovering buildings in theiry entirety. He unearthed the Odeon and Temple of Isis with intact frescoes.

Death of Alcubierre

1780

Alcubierre died removing one of the greatest hindrances to development of proper archaeological practice.

Plan for excavation of Pompeii

1801 - 1814

Under Napoleonic patronage, a plan for excavation of Pompeii was made.

More discoveries

1824 - 1860

Forum Baths, Temple of Fortuna, Augusta, the House of the Tragic Poet, the House of the Fawn, whole city blocks, Stabian Baths were all uncovered.

Excavation of Pompeii recommenced

1828

Excavation recommenced at Pompeii. Carol Bonucci led this. He was corrupt, incompetent and did not care about preservation.

Theft at the sites

1828

Theft at the museum and excavation sites was rife.

Political unrest in Naples

1840 - 1850

Political unrest in Naples.

Inspector of Excavation named

1860

Bourbon monarchs expelled from Naples and Fiorelli Giuseppe was made Inspector of Excavation. Under his leadership, the 'site came to be viewed as a town with history'.

Director of Naples Museum and Superintendent of Pompeii named

1860

Fiorelli was made Director of Naples Museum and Superintendent of Pompeii.

More uncoverings

1875

Michele Ruggiero and Giulio De Petra focused on the northernmost quarters of the city where they unearthed the Central Baths, House of Centenary, House of the Vetti, House of Lucretius etc. Ruggiero also restored over 600 paintings.

3/5 of Pompeii undercovered.

1875

Fiorelli made Director General of Antiquities throughout Italy. At this time, 3/5 of Pompeii was excavated.

Classification system developed for paintings

1882

Art historian, August Mau, visited Pompeii and developed a classification system for the wall paintings.

Discovey of Vesuvian Gate and water tower

1901 - 1905

Historian, Ettore Pais, found the Vesuvian Gate and water tower.

Undercovering of general buildings throughout Pompeii

1910 - 1923

Vittorio Spinazzola uncovered much of the main commercial road running west to east through Pompeii linking the amphitheater and the Sarnian gate. He uncovered many workshops, election posters, paintings, shops and inns. He was able to restore many of these.

Directorship of Amedeo Maiuri

1924

Amedeo Mairuri took over directorship of Pompeii. This was perhaps the most productive period of excavation uncovering the House of Menander and the Villa of Mysteries.

Affect of World War II

1943

Excavation ceased during the war and Pompeii suffered serious damage from the 160 bombs dropped by the allies.

Digging resumed

1947

Digging resumed after the war and ten more insulae were found over a ten year period.