History of the excavation of Oplontis Herculaneum

The digs began at Herculaneum in 1738, and continued using the technique of underground tunnels and exploratory and ventilation shafts until 1828, when the "open-air" digs were authorized, and carried out until 1875. After a very long interruption, in 1927 Amedeo Maiuri began again the work , and continued to lead the digs until 1958, but already in 1942 about all the area, constituting the current archaeological park, was brought to light and contemporary restored and covered.
Additional work was done between 1960 and 1969, in the northern sector of Insula VI and along the main street or "Decumanus Maximus", while the last twenty years have concentrated on exploring the ancient shoreline, corresponding to the southern most strip of the archeological area.
In this area 12 rooms were brought to light. These were rooms (fornici) with arched entrances, shelters for boats and warehouse, where many people took refuge escaping from the eruption. In this area it was found the wooden boat, now placed in a pavilion adjacent to the modern offices of the Soprintendenza and the Antiquarium, waiting for a complex work of restoration.
In 1991 a program of excavation for bringing to light Villa of Papyri started.
Carlo Weber discovered Villa of Papyri in 1750 by chance. He excavated the Villa through underground tunnels and accurately surveyed it.
The intervention was possible thanks to extraordinary funds allocated on the basis of the 64/1-3-1986 Law. In 1991 following an agreement between the "Ministero per I Beni Culturali e Ambientali" and the "Agenzia per la promozione e lo sviluppo del Mezzogiorno", the project was given in concession to a Temporary Association (A.T.I.).
The New Excavation was concentrated at the western side of the modern Vico Mare and is connected to the archaeological park through a narrow and deep trench, starting from the House of Aristide and continuing through a gallery beneath Vico Mare.
In reality, only the atrium of the Villa was brought to light, as the remains of the luxurious residence are under some properties not expropriated yet. In the eastern section of the excavations a great building and the southwestern extremity of the city, were brought to light. This part of the city included some houses and a thermal complex with an apsed nympheum.
Because of the collapse of the ancient coastline, after the eruption of 79 A.D., a system of water pump takes continuously control of the water layer.
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