Éveha International provides part of the funding for a new research programme on the Porta Nocera necropolis in Pompeii directed by William Van Andringa (University of Lille III), Thomas Creissen (Éveha International) and Henri Duday (University of Bordeaux).
William Van Andringa (University of Lille III – CNRS, UMR 8164 – HALMA-IPEL)
Thomas Creissen (Éveha International – François Rabelais University, Tours, CNRS UMR 7324 – LAT)
Henri Duday (University of Bordeaux – Anthropological Laboratory of Bordeaux)
Location and historical summary
The town of Pompeii is located in the south of Italy, on the bay of Naples. It’s origins date to the end of the 7th and the beginning of the 6th century BC. The town became Samnite in the late 5th century, before gradually being romanised after the conquest of Campania. It became a Roman colony in 80 BC, and in 79 AD, it was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The Roman colonisation led to the development of several cremation necropolises all around the town and its walls, and along the main access roads into Pompeii. Prestigious funerary monuments, sometimes richly decorated, are found alongside more modest enclosures which typically contain several tombs.
After the eruption, most of the necropolises were completely sealed by volcanic deposits. As a result, until their modern discovery, these burial grounds were preserved in their 79 AD state. They are therefore an extremely important source of information on the morphology of Classical funerary spaces and give us a great insight into how these functioned.
The first tombs at Pompeii were uncovered in the 18th century, at the necropolis of the Herculaneum Gate. These excavations were often carried out rapidly, which in many cases led to erosion of the activity levels associated with the tombs. The burials at the Nocera Gate, which are the focus of a new research programme, were excavated on the initiative of Amedeo Maiuri in the mid-20th century, recently enough to have preserved them from the ravages of time. The necropolis consists of two main groups: the first is located in the immediate vicinity of the Nocera Gate, on both sides of the Nocera road. The second is situated further to the east, along the same route.
After intensive excavation in the 1950s, more occasional investigations took place in different enclosures within the necropolis. Between 2003 and 2007, five enclosures were the focus of a comprehensive research project which aimed to reconstruct as accurately as possible the morphology and chronology of this part of the necropolis. In particular, these excavations have shed new light on the rituals and customs surrounding death, including the cremation, the placement of the body in the tomb, the commemoration of the dead, and finally the abandon of the tomb.
A new project, assisted by Éveha International, aims to gain new information by analysing a adjoining sector of the necropolis. In particular, it involves the excavation of the remains of the earliest phases of the necropolis, which were the least well documented during the previous fieldwork project. The project will also test the hypotheses put forward by the previous programme.
Furthermore, excavations will explore the western part of the Porta Nocera necropolis. Here, the morphology of the funerary structures varies greatly, from prestigious monuments to simple funerary enclosures which sometimes contain impressive alignments of steles.
Photogrammetry will form an important part of this project, in order to explore the benefits of this new recording technique for the analysis and interpretation of the archaeology.
How Eveha International Participates
Anthropology, archaeological investigation, direction
Soprintendenza par i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei (Itaty)
École Française de Rome (France)
University of Lille III (France)
Éveha International (France)
Anthropological Laboratory of Bordeaux (France)
AGRUMED programm (France)