The Contribution of Archaeologists to History
Towards the mid 19th century, methods in excavating Pompeii and Herculaneum changed due to the concerns associated with the preservation and conservation of the site. As a result of this, archaeologists such as Giuseppe Fiorelli and Amedeo Maiuri developed new methods and approaches towards the excavation of Pompeii.
Giuseppe Fiorelli excavated Pompeii in 1860-1875. Fiorelli’s aim was to introduce a more systematic approach to excavations as a whole due to the destruction of the site in previous excavations. He also aimed to control the results of the publication so that it could be open to the public, open the site to more visitors, incorporate the site into a teaching program at the Naples, and to house objects that were not wanted in
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Another archaeologist who contributed greatly to the understanding of commercial life in Pompeii was Vittroio Spinazola who excavated in 1910-1923. Spinazzola’s interest in the realities of town planning rather than treasure hunting made his method of excavation unique. Instead of excavating the northern quarters of the town, Spinazzola, focused on the main commercial road, the Via dell’Abbondanza revealing a commercial town with a number of election posers, paintings, numerous shops, workshops, laundries such as the Laundry of Stephanus. Spinnazola’s method of excavation was to excavate streetscapes to reveal the external appearances of buildings, which was a systematic approach. Spinnazola used evidence from the remains of buildings and paintings of Roman houses to reconstruct upper storeys and balconies which had been destroyed during the eruption. He also used photography to record the stages of his excavation. These photographs have provided valuable information for conservators working to repair 20th century damage to buildings from theft, vandalism, war, earthquakes and exposure to the elements.
Another archaeologist is Amedeo Maiuri. Maiuri worked on the Via Dell’Abbondanza, uncovering the insulae on either side to gain a view of the whole site, excavated the House of Menander, and he completed the works on the Villa of Mysteries. Maiuri studied the structure of walls and towers, restoring the area behind the Triangular Forum to