Excavations and Discoveries in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Excavations and Discoveries in the 19th and 20th Centuries

After their initial discovery in the late 16th (Pompeii) and early 17th (Herculaneum) centuries, only minor rudimentary archaeological excavations occurred at the sites. It was not until the 18th century that the first large-scale excavations began. Unsystematic archaeological excavations which were more akin to "treasure hunting", commenced at Pompeii and Herculaneum in 1748 under Charles VII, King of Spain, Naples and Sicily.

Charles VII                   Johann Joachim Winckelmann

King Charles VII Johann Joachim Winckelmann

Throughout the 18th century, Pompeii and Herculaneum were excavated by a number of scholars including Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre, Karl Jakob Weber, Johann Joachim Winckelmann and Francesco La Vega. For information on the initial discovery of the sites see here and for further information relating to early 18th century excavations see here.

19th and 20th Century Excavations

Guiseppe Forelli It was not until the early 19th century when Guiseppe Fiorelli was made director of excavations at Pompeii that the first systematic archaeological excavations of the site began. Fiorelli developed and implemented scientific processes to methodically study and preserve the site. Not only did Fiorelli significantly contribute to our understanding of Pompeii but he also contributed to the development of modern archaeological field methods. Fiorelli published many books which detail his extensive work at Pompeii, one of his most well know is his work Description di Pompei, a free downloadable copy of this can be found here.

Other than Forelli, Pompeii and Herculaneum has been studied by numerous other scholars and academics throughout the 19th and  20th centuries. These have included:

August Mau            Vittorio Spinazzola             Amedeo Maiuri

August Mau Vittorio Spinazzola Amedeo Maiuri

For more information on the work these scholars and archaeologists have undertaken on Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 19th and 20th centuries, see here and here.  For a comprehensive overview of excavations at Pompeii and the extent to which each region of the site has been studied see here.

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