Karl Weber

Karl Jacob Weber (1712-1764) was born in Switzerland, attended Jesuit College in Lucerne and studied mathematics at Collegio Ghislieri in Pavia, Italy.  In 1735 he joined a Swiss infantry regiment as a junior officer, and was part of a battalion of guards that was contracted to Charles of Bourbon, the King of Naples.  In 1743 he was admitted as a military engineer to the Royal Guard.

At the time, a Spanish military engineer, Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre, directed the subterranean exploration of ancient Herculaneum. The purpose of the work was to tunnel into the buried ruins in order to locate and extract artwork and artifacts for the king.  In 1749 Weber was put in charge of the on-site excavations under the direction of de Alcubierre.  He also later supervised projects at Pompeii and Stabiae.  Weber documented the excavations with written reports, inventories of discoveries and plans of the explored buildings that included the Villa of the Papyri and theater at Herculaneum, Praedia of Julia Felix at Pompeii and elite villas at Stabiae.  It has been speculated that his death may have been caused by a combination of extreme overwork and respiratory illness caused by the unhealthy work environment of the underground excavations.  (Parslow, Rediscovering Antiquity, Karl Weber and the Excavation of Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiae)

1757 Plan of the Praedia of Julia Felix (Regio II, Insula 4) ADS 73

Permission to display this image of the original document has been granted by the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività  Culturali – Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.  This image may NOT be copied or reproduced in any manner.

1757 730 ads73 0934-2 d