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New excavation campaign at the Villa Arianna in Stabiae


The Roman town of Stabiae, like Pompeii and Herculaneum, was also destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Discovered in 1749 and explored by the Bourbons until 1782, the site was subwquently abandoned. Excavations only resumed in 1950 by the school principal, Libero d'Orsi.

New excavation campaign at the Villa Arianna in Stabiae
Fresco fragment from the Villa Arianna [Credit:La Repubblica]
Now, the restorers and scholars of the State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg are investigating room 71 of the Villa Arianna: a cryptoporticus probably in the process of remodelling before the eruption in 79 AD.

New excavation campaign at the Villa Arianna in Stabiae
Clay statuette recovered by the experts of the Hermitage: it was already discovered by the Bourbons
and discarded during the excavation [Credit:La Repubblica]


Surveys of the long corridor, already partly cleaned and restored in the summer of 2017, confirmed that the entire area was used as a dump site in the 18th century, at the end of the excavation campaigns at the Villa Arianna conducted by the Bourbons.

New excavation campaign at the Villa Arianna in Stabiae
Terracotta lamps [Credit:La Repubblica]
The main element of interest that emerged during last year's excavation campaign was the discovery of an intact section of a collapsed part of the ceiling and the remains of the plaster layer from the encased room 71.

New excavation campaign at the Villa Arianna in Stabiae
Roman Key [Credit:La Repubblica]


The project of the summer of 2018 provided for the extension to the south (on an additional 30 square metres) of the interventions begun last season, in order to learn more about the excavations of the 18th century and also to determine the state of this sector of the villa during the moments immediately preceding its destruction in 79 AD.

New excavation campaign at the Villa Arianna in Stabiae
Cleaning phase and excavation of the collapsed ceiling on the floor of the cryptoporticus
[Credit:La Repubblica]
The working group, composed of 13 archaeologists and restorers of Russian and Italian nationality, under the supervision of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, was involved in both excavation and restoration activities and in the preliminary study of the numerous materials found in the Bourbon backfill layer.

Source: La Repubblica [July 23, 2018]

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