Maria Paola Guidobaldi has been director of the excavations at Herculaneum since 2000. In this role, she is also joint leader of the Herculaneum Conservation Project, sponsored by the Packard Humanities Institute.
Art of a Buried City
The first modern survey of the art and architecture of this miraculously preserved Roman town, illustrated with superb new photography.
The bustling life of Herculaneum was brought to a sudden and catastrophic end in AD 79, by the same eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried the city’s larger neighbor, Pompeii. But while Pompeii was initially covered by a rain of loose pumice, Herculaneum was submerged to a great depth in torrents of superheated ash, which, uniquely, preserved the upper stories of buildings, as well as organic materials such as wooden furnishings and foodstuffs.
This handsome oversized volume opens with an account of Herculaneum’s destruction, and of the excavations, under way since 1738, that have brought at least a part of its treasures back to light. It then describes, in detail, twenty-six of the most important public buildings and private residences that have been uncovered. These include the Samnite House, one of the city’s oldest surviving dwellings, decorated in the elegant and restrained First Style of wall painting; the famous House of the Stags, with its luxurious marble pavements and its garden overlooking the sea; and of course the fantastically wealthy Villa of the Papyri, which has yielded nearly ninety fine statues, as well as the library of manuscripts for which it is named.
The splendid decoration of these ancient structures—in particular, their wall paintings—is presented as never before, thanks to an extensive photographic campaign carried out especially for this book. With these superb illustrations complementing an authoritative text, Herculaneum is sure to be welcomed by all students and enthusiasts of archaeology.