Strada della Concordia?

179 fountain d
“In front of the entrance [of the Eumachia Building] from Abbondanza Street, is a fountain of the ordinary Pompeian form; …on the front of which a bust of a female figure with a cornucopia is carved in relief. The right side of the face has been worn away by eager drinkers pressing their mouths against the mouth of the figure, whence the jet issued. Hands also have worn deep, polished hollows in the stone on either side of the standard. The figure represents Concordia Augusta, but the name Abundantia, given to it when first discovered, still lingers in the Italian name for the street, which might more appropriately have been called Strada della Concordia.” (August Mau, 1899)

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The Excavation History of via dell'Abbondanza

200 sarno canal dThe first recorded event in the rediscovery of Pompeii dates from the late sixteenth century.  A Swiss architect, Domenico Fontana, had been engaged to design and supervise the construction of an underground conduit to carry water from the Sarno River to a factory in Torre Annunziata. While digging this tunnel, the ruins of Pompeii were discovered by chance.  The shaft entered the entombed walled city north of the Sarno Gate, cut across via dell’Abbondanza in the vicinity of Insula II, 5, traversed the city close to via di Castricio and via del Tempio d’Iside (one block south of via dell’Abbondanza), crossed the forum and exited north of the Porta Marina.  The diggers encountered buildings and wall paintings, but the discoveries did not stimulate further interest.

To the west of Pompeii, Herculaneum was rediscovered during the excavation of a well in 1709.  Charles of Bourbon, King of Naples and Sicily ordered subterranean tunneling to begin there in 1738 in order to retrieve artwork and antiquities.  In 1748 the workmen were moved to the vicinity of Torre Annunziata to dig at a site where the volcanic lapilli and ash was easier to excavate.  This location was later identified from a recovered inscription as Pompeii.  The first structures discovered on via dell’Abbondanza were found in 1754.[1]

There is consequently over two hundred and fifty years of history associated with the excavations at Pompeii and on via dell'Abbondanza.  This has been documented with journals, manuscripts, paintings, drawings, etchings, photographs and books. Unfortunately, some have been lost, while the availability of many other sources is limited.  Research was conducted in the library, photographic archives and excavation journals repository of the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, the archaeological Museum in Naples, the British Library in Great Britain as well as numerous libraries in the United States to identify images and information about via dell’Abbondanza such as:

  • Maps and plans
  • Pages from excavation journals (giornale di scavo)
  • Drawings, engravings and watercolors showing buildings or features
  • Excavation photographs and drawings

The history of the excavation of via dell’Abbondanza was traced from these materials and organized into five time periods.  Links to these five sections are in the menu to the left:

  • 1748-1799
  • 1800-1849
  • 1850-1899
  • 1900-1949
  • 1950-present

[1]  Soprintendenza Archaeologica di Pompei, History of the Excavations, Pompei, 2008, and John Dobbins and Pedar Foss, eds.,  The World of Pompeii, New York:  Routledge, 2007, pp. 28-42.