William Van Andringa (University of Lille III – CNRS, UMR 8164 – HALMA-IPEL)
How Eveha Participates
The 2013 season
Since 2008 a multidisciplinary team has been studying the temple of Fortuna Augusta, which is situated close to the forum in Pompeii. This project is directed by Willam Van Andringa, Professor at the University of Lille III, and brings together researchers and students from a variety of backgrounds.
Targeted excavations have revealed a huge amount of information about the area. The first traces of settlement here are quite late, no earlier than the 3rd century BC. Several transformations occur before the construction of the temple takes place at the very end of the 1st century AD. Numerous subsequent modifications take place during the period between the completion of the initial temple and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. These occurred in within the temple itself, but especially in the immediate vicinity.
A detailed study of the building, as well as the digging of a number of sondages, have provided us with a good idea of how the temple was constructed. It was possible to demonstrate that the site was partly dug out before the construction of the monument, and that the high podium on which the building stands was made up of a series of vaulted chambers. At the top of this podium, the many holes and tool marks which are found on the cement slabs of the proanos and the cella bear witness to the organisation and the progress of the construction site. Numerous elements in the masonry provide information on the layout of the décor, such as slabs of mortar or the many small holes which held the metal fixings for the slabs of opus sectile or the frames for the alcoves.
A few scattered examples of mouldings, architraves with three fasciae or even Corinthian capitals,give an idea of the original architectural decoration. Other material which is held in the Pompeii collections or in the Museum of Naples, such as pilaster capitals and statues and inscriptions more or less complete, give us an even more detailed idea of this decoration, as well as providing information on the dedication of the temple and the identity of the benefactor.
Using all of these elements, a virtual reconstruction of the area and its evolution, and in particular that of the temple, is currently being developed.
The work carried out by the programme in the spring and summer of 2013 was focused on the publication of the research, which is planned for 2014. It provided the opportunity to explore observations made on-site in more depth, but especially to continue or complete the studies by the various specialists involved in the project: zooarchaeologist, carpologist, pottery specialists, architects, art historians, architectural archaeologists, petrographer… The archaeological syntheses have begun and the writing of these has advanced considerably.