The Superintendency

60_sap_logoThe Soprintendenza Pompei is part of the Italian Ministero per i Beni e delle Attività Culturali with responsibilities for safeguarding and enhancing archaeological cultural heritage.  It oversees a territory made up of 23 communes in the Vesuvian area and runs four archaeological sites (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae, Oplontis) and a museum (Boscoreale).  The history of the institution and its predecessors can be traced back over two hundred and fifty years to the earliest excavations in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

In April of 2008, the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, Soprintendenza Archeologica di Napoli e Caserta, and Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli were combined into one organization, the Soprintendenza Speciale per i beni archeologici di Napoli e Pompei. In January of 2014, this organization was divided into two entities. One was given the responsibility for Naples, the Phlegraean Fields area, and Caserta. Theother was assigned the Vesuvian Sites (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae, Oplontis, and Boscoreale) and was originally named the Soprintendenza Speciale per i beni archeologici di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia, which in 2015 was modified to the Soprintendenza Speciale per Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia. In 2016, the name of this organization was changed to the Soprintendenza Pompei.  In January of 2017 the Superintendency was renamed the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. 

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125 guzzo dBoth the methodology and the proposed project were discussed with then Soprintendente Archeologica di Pompei, Prof. Pietro Giovanni Guzzo.  He supported the premise that the photomosaics would be a useful method of recording structures in Pompeii, and pointed out that the photomosaics could also be used for other purposes including analyses of past deterioration.  The scope of the project was, therefore, broadened.  Archives and other sources would be explored in order to locate original excavation materials and images, especially those produced by Vittorio Spinazzola, the Soprintendente Archeologica di Pompei between 1911 and 1923 who was responsible for major excavations along via dell'Abbondanza.  The graphic information could then be analyzed and compared in order to quantify the changes that had occurred to the structures since their excavation.

A final project plan was submitted and approved by Soprintendente Guzzo in 2004.  The major elements of the plan were to:

  • Use the latest digital technology to completely survey and photograph the properties on both sides of the 900 meter-long street.
  • Combine the data to produce accurate high quality digital orthographic photomosaics of the building frontages.
  • Make the data available to the Soprintendenza and other repositories in digital or other appropriate form.
  • Describe the methodology for producing the photomosaics.
  • Determine, if possible, the location of the original Spinazzola watercolors, drawings and photographs published in the three-volume Pompei alla luce degli Scavi Nuovi di Via dell’Abbondanza (anni 1910-1923)[1] and record all appropriate material in digital form.
  • Research and collect other archival and published material about the street.
  • Analyze the deterioration that has occurred to the structures since their excavation by comparing the photomosaics with historical records such as engravings, watercolors, photographs and drawings.
  • Graphically present the photomosaics of the entire via dell’Abbondanza with supporting information.

    250 sap library dThe photographic and surveying fieldwork was accomplished during summer seasons between 2005 and 2009.  Excavation data were researched in the archives in Pompeii and Naples, and libraries were visited in Italy, the U.K. and U.S.A. to identify and record appropriate textual material, drawings, engravings and maps.




    [1] Published posthumously in Spinazzola, Vittorio, Pompei alla luce degli scavi nuovi di Via dell'Abbondanza (anni 1910-1923), 2 vols. and portfolio, Roma: La Libreria della Stato, 1953.