Amedeo Maiuri

179 maiuri dAmedeo Maiuri (1886-1963) studied archeology at the University of Naples and completed his education in Rome and Athens.  He took part in archeological expeditions in Crete and Turkey, and was the director of the Italian archaeological mission in Greece.  He later became an inspector at the Naples Directorate under Vittorio Spinazzola.  In 1924 he was appointed the Director for Antiquities in Campania and Molise, which included the archaeological activities in Pompeii, Stabia, Cuma, Capri, Baia and the extensive surface excavations in Herculaneum.  He was particularly interested in using stratigraphy to determine historical chronology.  Maiuri also taught at the University of Naples, and authored over 300 publications including scientific monographs, articles and books. He retired in 1961.  (Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei)

The Excavation History of via dell’Abbondanza - 1950 to present

The Italian monarchy was brought to an end by a plebiscite vote in May of 1946 and was soon replaced by a democratic republic.  Although funding became a problem at Pompeii in the post-war era, the fast-paced exploration of the buried city continued under the direction of Amedeo Maiuri.  In the south, most of Regio I, and all of Regio II were cleared.  During the early 1950’s the excavations along via dell’Abbondanza were started again, which finally connected the total length of the street from the forum to the Sarno Gate.

To Maiuri’s credit, large portions of the city had been unearthed and studied during his thirty-eight year tenure.  He was, however, criticized by some of his colleagues for poor excavation and restoration techniques as well as inconsistent recording methods and incomplete publications.  Certainly the buildings that were excavated and restored with the techniques utilized by Spinazzola have remained in better condition than those excavated by Maiuri.

After Maiuri’s retirement in 1961, the focus of the site management altered.  The success of two hundred years of Pompeian exploration resulted in numerous unintended consequences. The large numbers of excavated buildings that have been constantly exposed to the elements require significant maintenance, conservation and restoration.  Large-scale excavations were therefore suspended in favor of smaller and more focused archaeological explorations.  On via dell’Abbondanza only two properties have been excavated, the House of Julius Polybius (in Insula IX, 13) between 1964 and 1977 and the House of the Chaste Lovers (in Insula IX, 12) which was started in 1987 and is not yet complete.

A magnitude 6.89 earthquake struck the Irpinia region, about 40 kilometers east of Naples, on November 23, 1980.  Damage was widespread around the Bay of Naples.  Numerous structures in Pompeii, including some on via dell’Abbondanza, required emergency shoring, repairs and reconstruction.

World attention was focused on Pompeii in 1997 when it was granted status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  In 1998, law 08.10.1997 n. 352, art. 9 that had been passed by the Italian parliament came into effect.  It transformed the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei into an autonomous entity with control over its own administration and finances.  This allowed all of the entrance fees paid by visitors to be used in Pompeii for badly needed maintenance and restoration.  The European Union has also provided funding for conservation projects.  Despite all of these resources, the exposure to the weather, seismic events and millions of visitors puts constant strain on this ancient city, including one of its most interesting and best-known streets, via dell’Abbondanza.

The Directors of the Pompeii excavations during this period were[1]:

  • 1961 to 1976 - Alfonso de Franciscis, Superintendent of Archeology for the Provinces of Naples and Caserta
  • 1977 to 1981 - Fausto Zevi, Superintendent of Archeology for the Provinces of Naples and Caserta
  • 1981 to 1984 - Giuseppina Cerulli Irelli, Archaeological Superintendent of Pompeii
  • 1984 to 1995- Baldassare Conticello, Archaeological Superintendent of Pompeii
  • 1995 to 2009 - Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, Archaeological Superintendent of Pompeii and Special Superintendent of Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompeii
  • 2009 to 2010 - Mariarosaria Salvatore, Special Superintendent of Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompeii (Interim)
  • 2010 - Giuseppe Proietti, Special Superintendent of Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompeii (Interim)
  • 2010 - Jeannette Papadopoulos, Special Superintendent of Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompeii (Interim)
  • 2010 - Teresa Cinquantaquattro, Special Superintendent of Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompeii
  • 2014 - Massimo Osanna, Special Superintendent for the Archaeological Heritage of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae

The following documents have been located that indicate the chronology of the excavation of via dell’Abbondanza during this period:

1954 - Map of the excavations in Pompeii

300 1954 maiuri dBy:  Amedeo Maiuri (1886-1963), translated by V. Priestley

Source:  Printed book - Pompeii: The New Excavations, the “villa dei misteri”, the Antiquarium

Publication Date:  1965 (twelfth reprint), map dated 1954

Location:  Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston

Copyright: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Rome.   This image may NOT be copied or reproduced in any manner.

 


This map shows Regio I, and Regio II, with the revised insula numbers that are currently in use.  All of the insulae in Regio I adjacent to via dell’Abbondanza have been excavated.  Almost all of Regio II has been cleared.  The excavation of the street itself has proceeded to within 50 meters of the Sarno Gate.

Via dell’Abbondanza is shown with the name strada dell’Abbondanza.

1965 - Plan of the excavations in Pompeii

300 1965 della corte dBy:  Matteo Della Corte (1875-1962)

Source:  Printed book – Case ed Abitanti di Pompei

Publication Date:  1965 (3rd edition)

Location: Palmer Library, Connecticut College

Copyright: The book that contains this map was published in 1965  by "Fausto Fiorentino – Editore, Napoli".  Signor Fiorentino has since passed away and his publishing rights now belong to his family.  Permission to display this map has been kindly granted by Signor Diego Fiorentino with the concurrence of his family.  This image may NOT be copied or reproduced.

This map shows that all of the insulae in Regio I have been excavated, except for those areas that are still currently buried. All of Regio II has been cleared.  The last section of the 900 meter-long via dell’Abbondanza has been excavated, connecting the forum to the Sarno Gate at the city wall.

Via dell’Abbondanza is shown with the name strada dell’Abbondanza.

1981 - Photographs of earthquake damage along via dell’Abbondanza

By:  Unknown

Source:  Photographic prints

Publication Date:  Not published

Location:  Archives of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei

Copyright:  Permission to display these photographs has been granted by the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività  Culturali – Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.  These images may NOT be copied or reproduced in any manner.

These photographs of structures on via dell’Abbondanza were taken in early 1981 after the November 23, 1980 Irpinia earthquake.

300 1981 earthquake ix 1 d1. February 1981 – Insula IX, 1 at the intersection of via dell’Abbondanza and via Stabiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

300 1981 earthquake i 8 d2.  February 1981 – Insula I, 8 (left side of street).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

300 1981 earthquake iii 2 d3.  February 1981 – Insula III, 2 (right side of street) and Insula I, 12 (on left).

 

 

 

 

 

 

1984 - Digital plan of via dell’Abbondanza

300 abbmap dBy: Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, edited by Arthur Stephens

Source:  1:1000 digital map of Pompeii published by the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei

Publication Date:  1984

Location:  Scientific Secretariat of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei

Copyright:  Permission to display the image of this 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.

This plan of via dell’Abbondanza and adjacent insulae was extracted from the 1:1000 map of Pompeii published in digital form by the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei in 1984.  The project was sponsored by the World Monuments Fund and was financed by American Express.  Studio di Architettura, Rome, managed the digitization.  The base cartography was the 1:1000 RICA (Research in Campanian Archaeology) Map of Pompeii produced from aerial photographs, which was published by the University of Texas at Austin in 1984.

The excavation of the street itself was completed in the early 1950’s.  The map shows that the exploration of the House of Julius Polybius in Insula IX, 13 had been completed.  The House of the Chaste Lovers in Insula IX, 12 was the last major structure to be excavated on via dell’Abbondanza.  This project was not started until 1987 and is therefore not reflected on this plan.

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 [1] Soprintendenza Archaeologica di Pompei, History of the Excavations, Pompei, 2008, http://www.pompeiisites.org/