On March 23, 1748 the Neapolitan abbot Martorelli, aided by the military engineer Roque de Alcubierre, who believed he was on the track of the ancient city of Stabiae, opened the first archeological site at Civita, at the crossroads of The Stabian Way and via di Nola. Coins, objects, statues and frescoes were found and above all the first victim of the eruption emerged: a skeleton! At this stage sporadic and disconnected explorations were made at various points of the area which led to the discovery of the site of the Amphitheatre and of the Herculaneum Gate necropolis with the adjacent buildings.

The scant interest of the site led de Alcubierre to move the field of action back to Herculaneum. 1750 saw the lucky discovery of the Villa of the Papyri with its magnificent library of 1800 papyri and the collection of bronze statues.
In 1754 digging started in Pompeii again and the Villa of Cicerone at the Herculaneum Gate, already identified in 1749, and the Praedia of Iulia Felix north of the Amphitheatre were explored and then covered over again. Only in 1763, during excavations of the Herculaneum Gate necropolis, was it possible to associate the Civita hill with the ancient city of Pompeii, thanks to the discovery of the inscription of Titus Suedius Clemens, which made explicit reference to the Res Publica Pompeianorum.
From 1759 to 1799, under the regency of Ferdinand IV, but especially with the encouragement of his wife Maria Carolina, excavations gained pace, thanks also to better planning on the part of the new director of archeological works Francesco La Vega.
Between 1764 and 1766 digging began on the Theatre area, the Triangular Forum and the Temple of Isis, which would be fully brought to light in the first years of the next century. Sites were opened in the north-west part of the city too, where between 1760 and 1772 the insula occidentalis, the House of the Surgeon and the Villa of Diomede, along via dei Sepolcri, were partially explored. The cellar of the latter revealed 18 victims of the eruption, along with a treasure-trove of gold and silver coins.
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