New Excavations in Pompeii
June 11, 2018 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Since new excavations in Regio V of Pompeii began in March 2018, the discoveries have been phenomenal.

As the layers of lapilli (tiny volcanic stones) and ash are removed, more of the city and its people are revealed. The latest finds of frescoes, a bronze candelabrum, and election graffiti are a great start to this new excavation. Check out this map to see the most significant finds to date where they were found.

The body of a man fleeing the eruption is an evocative reminder of the chaos of that day. He was carrying 20 silver and 2 bronze coins in a small pouch found by his chest and an iron object, possible a house key.

Outside of Regio V, there are other excavations in progress!
-The recent discovery of horses (the first!) in a villa just outside of Pompeii was the result of work done after looters were spotted in the area.
-The Venus Pompeiana Project is taking a second look at the Temple of Venus

Many of these discoveries are being shared first on social media. (Archaeology twitter is the best twitter!)
-Massimo Osana, Director General of the Archaeology Park of Pompeii (instagram, twitter)
-Pompeii Sites, official account for Pompeii (twitter, facebook)

Visit the encyclopedic PompeiiInPictures for excellent photographs of almost every street and structure that has been excavated (plus the nearby sites of Herculaneum, Stabiae, Oplontis, Boscoreale, and more!).
posted by Mouse Army (28 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
 
The new things have been amazing, if only for the vibrancy of the colors in the graffiti and murals. And well, it also stinks for the new body they discovered - history will be remember you as the guy who had a block fall on your head.
posted by Atreides at 9:09 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


I’d like to know more about how they surveyed this site. I wonder if the low density of pumice gives you a clearer image with ground penetrating radar. One of the links mentions previous excavations in the same place not digging as deep, so I wonder how much they chose their sites based on what was suggested by remote sensing.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:19 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


the pompeii man memes are already filling my days with extreme hilarity
posted by poffin boffin at 9:20 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


this stuff is so utterly awe-inspiring, but i wonder what steps, if any, are being taken to preserve these treasures? won't these frescos (and well, basically, everything uncovered) suffer much more damage with exposure to weather and pollutants?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:29 AM on June 11


The frescoes! Can you imagine the color when they were fresh?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:54 AM on June 11


He was carrying 20 silver and 2 bronze coins in a small pouch found by his chest and an iron object, possible a house key.

Man, he must have barely started. Not even any armor or magic items.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:02 AM on June 11 [55 favorites]


ooooh!! very excited to read about this later today :D
posted by supermedusa at 10:06 AM on June 11


> Man, he must have barely started. Not even any armor or magic items.

We can only hope the rest of his party learned not to fuck with hill giants on their first outing.
posted by ardgedee at 10:07 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


Really, if you are about to be enveloped by a pyroclastic flow, having a rock smash your head is probably a nicer way out.
posted by tavella at 10:08 AM on June 11 [38 favorites]


> Man, he must have barely started. Not even any armor or magic items.

We can only hope the rest of his party learned not to fuck with hill giants on their first outing.


Or piss off the DM
posted by logicpunk at 10:10 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


history will ... remember you as the guy who had a block fall on your head

At least it wasn't, say, a piano or a safe ...
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:13 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Wow! Thank you so much for this post!!

Like everyone else, I've been seeing some of these finds on twitter. I went to Pompeii for the first time last October and it exceeded my already high expectations. Now, I just live with the idea of when I can return.
posted by vacapinta at 10:16 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


A candelabrum? Some coins? Come on! It’s Pompeii! Haven’t they uncovered anything ithyphallic yet? All those Neapolitan docents could probably do with something new to try not to giggle at.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:33 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Really, if you are about to be enveloped by a pyroclastic flow, having a rock smash your head is probably a nicer way out.

Probably, but it looks like both ways were pretty quick..
Because of the extreme heat, “when the pyroclastic surge hit Pompeii, there was no time to suffocate,” he said. “The contorted postures are not the effects of a long agony, but of the cadaveric spasm, a consequence of heat shock on corpses.”
posted by pracowity at 10:42 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


He was carrying 20 silver and 2 bronze coins in a small pouch found by his chest and an iron object, possible a house key.

By age 35 you should have your head smashed in by a rock.
posted by Quindar Beep at 10:53 AM on June 11 [18 favorites]


yet another unrealistic expectation forced on us by the body shaming fashion industry
posted by poffin boffin at 11:12 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


Thank you thank you thank you ::mwah::
posted by infini at 11:32 AM on June 11


entropicamericana: "won't these frescos (and well, basically, everything uncovered) suffer much more damage with exposure to weather and pollutants?"

Yes, some of the most famous stuff has been almost entirely destroyed by the elements. Mary Beard wrote about this in Confronting the Classics, I think.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:27 PM on June 11


The frescoes! Can you imagine the color when they were fresh?

Old teacher of mine worked Pompeii back in the early fifties. He had missed a few days and was walking by one of the buildings that had only recently been uncovered (presumably on the via dell’Abbondanza) and at first glance assumed that whatever it was he saw from the corner of his eyes was real, it was that vivid.

(The anecdote would be improved of course if I could remember exactly what it was he saw - gods? goddesses? wild animals? food? - but, you know - it was a long time ago.)
posted by BWA at 2:02 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, with looters at work, sometimes it may be a choice between uncovering it and risking damage but at least recording it, and it being stolen or destroyed.
posted by tavella at 2:50 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Have any lost books been unearthed by these excavations?
posted by micketymoc at 4:11 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


I probably should have mentioned in the original post that this new excavation is part of The Great Pompeii Project which is actually a group of projects to restore, conserve, and excavate in Pompeii. Regio V, part of an an area also known as "the wedge," has hydrogeological instability along the baulk (places where the excavated areas meet unexcavated areas, basically a wall of dirt). Rainfall doesn't drain well and the saturated soils remaining inside the baulk and the structures insides push the walls out into open areas. A wall collapsed in 2014 near the Temple of Venus due to this very problem. Rain can also unexpectedly take down walls in excavated areas (like the House of the Gladiators in 2010.)

entropicamericana: The good news is that there are promising techniques for fresco restoration. The Villa of the Mysteries got a big facelift a couple of years ago with super cool laser cleaning (like this)!

shapes that haunt the dusk: As for geophysical survey, they have done it at Pompeii, but I'm not sure if they did it in this area. Here's one result, and an article (memail me if you want the pdf).

You can read all 246 pages of the site management plan submitted to UNESCO too is you want to really dig in :)
posted by Mouse Army at 4:12 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


I've been following the excavations via Instagram, and it was startling to see the poor dude who was crushed by the block turn up the next day all meme-ifyed.
posted by PussKillian at 4:29 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Too soon?
posted by LarsC at 6:06 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


Thanks, Mouse Army! Fortunately I still have library VPN access for another month.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:35 PM on June 11


I’m going to Pompeii and Herculaneum for the first time in a couple weeks and all this recent news has me absolutely giddy.
posted by padraigin at 7:40 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


Probably, but it looks like both ways were pretty quick..

Maybe, but a ton of stone to the head is definitively never knew what happened zone, while pyroclastic flow has the opportunity for a few seconds of agonized consciousness before the brain gets cooked to uselessness. I'd go rock every time.
posted by tavella at 8:05 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


This thread just became doubly informative and it was already very informative from the beginning!
posted by bleep at 8:50 PM on June 11


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