Pompei – Projet RECAP – 2016

The excavation campaigns
(by years)


Hélène Dessales (ENS / CNRS UMR 8546)

How Eveha Participates

Study and survey of buildings

The Recap Project is based on a multidisciplinary interpretation of archaeological data. It aims to shed light on practical reconstruction methods and techniques adopted during antiquity following an earthquake (coordination H. Dessales, AOROC/ENS, UMR 8546). These problematics have hardly been tackled in the study of Roman construction history, even though they present a real challenge for understanding the development of an architecture taking into account risk and urgency.

In 2016, the mission has focused mainly on the study of the Eumachia Building (Reg. VII, 8, 1), which shows obvious traces of reconstructions. This vast building (75×40 m), located in the southeast corner of the forum, occupies a central place in the urban planning of Pompeii. As part of this program, a training course in archeosismology and archeology of Roman construction, integrated into the archaeology training of the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the civil engineering training of the Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II, was associated with a field-based theoretical and practical initiation session.

Two databases were developed to record the field information.

The ACOR database (Atlas of Roman construction techniques) aims to produce an archaeological atlas of post-seismic construction techniques. It associates the geographical and historical contexts within an extended framework covering Pompeii and its region (including the cities of Cumes and Pozzuoli).

The OPUR database (Tool for Repair Unit) completes the OPUS database (Tool for Constructed Stratigraphic Unit), developed in 2012 as part of the study of the villa of Diomede (coordination H. Dessales). It aims to record the stratigraphic units characterizing architectural repairs. It was first tested on the Eumachia building and then the recordings were extended to the accessible sectors of Region VII (coordination G. Chapelin and Chr. Loiseau).

A statistic analysis of the building facing (coordination A. Milleville) and a cartographic approach (GIS) are associated to these databases. The GIS is more specifically focused on the geographical recording of observed construction techniques and post-seismic reconstruction interventions.
An archaeological analysis was lead under the direction of H. Dessales on the Eumachia Bluiding to point out the repairs following the earthquake of 63 AD. This work focused on the links between the building walls, the identification of the various building materials in use, the statistical analysis of the different masonry facing aspects, the inventory of construction techniques (ACOR database), the dating of elevations and the identification of post-seismic repairs (OPUR database).

In parallel, another study was lead on the decorations of the Eumachia building (wall painting and marble adornment, coordination Fl. Monnier and Chr. Loiseau). It unabled to understand the aspect of the building at the time of the Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD. A structural analysis of the masonry was also carried out in addition to the building archaeological study (coordination G. De Martino).
Finally, a photogrammetric coverage of the Eumachia building was realized (coordination J. Ponce, realization J. Chemla) to help the researchers’ work.

The results of this campaign provide a better understanding of the extent of post-seismic repairs on the scale of a Pompeii building. They also help document, at the city level, the impact of the earthquake of 63 AD.