Did ancient builders integrate seismic risk into their construction techniques when facing recurring earthquakes? The RECAP project aims at sheding new light on the practicalities of reconstruction, based on a multidisciplinary interpretation of archaeological data. The program is based on an interdisciplinary approach involving complementary data which have so far never been applied jointly at the Pompeii site.
Partners and methodology
Initiated in January 2015, the RECAP collaborative program (REConstructing After an Earthquake: Ancient Experiences and Innovations in Pompeii) involves four French main partners:
-AOROC laboratory (UMR 8546),
-INRIA (UMR 8538),
-IPGP (UMR 7154)
-and CJB (USR 3133).
Alongside, are four French and Italian collaborators:
– the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II (Departments of Engineering, Geology and Agronomy),
– theUniversità degli Studi di Padova (Departments of Engineering and Archaeology),
-ISTerre (UMR 5275)
-and the Soprintendenza speciale per i beni archeolologici di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia.
The objective of this international programme is to shed new light on the development of a risk and emergency architecture during the Roman period. On the Pompeii site, considered as an emblematic laboratory, the aim is to characterize seismic impacts, rehabilitation operations and possible technical innovations. This project is based on a highly interdisciplinary approach that closely involves construction archaeology, sociology, computer science, structural engineering and geology.
The 2017 mission
Following on from the Eumachia building study (RECAP 2016), a larger-scale approach was initiated in 2017 to obtain an overview of the rehabilitation operations and their progress. To this end, a coherent urban ensemble was selected in Region VII, bounded on the west by the Forum, on the east by Via Stabiana, on the north by Via di Nola and on the south by Via dell’Abbondanza. The area covered thus eleven insulae (1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14).
A systematic inventory of repairs was undertaken in each of the insulae. The data were entered into the OPUR database, combined with an operation to characterize coatings, particularly bipartite ones.
The archaeological characterization of the identified repairs was enriched by engineering expertise on the nature of the damage and the probability of a seismic event.