The cities and villas buried by Vesuvius in AD 79 represent an archaeological heritage of unique importance. At the same time, they are subject in particularly acute form to the problems of conservation that afflict all such sites. The very features that make the little town of Herculaneum such a vivid evocation of the past – the survival of houses to several stories, and the astonishing preservation of organic matter like wood, cloth and papyrus – also render the site exceptionally difficult to preserve for present and future generations.
Thanks to the extraordinary support of the Packard Humanities Institute, the British School at Rome is involved in two collaborative initiatives which in different ways attempt to resolve these problems: the Herculaneum Conservation Project which has been tackling the site’s conservation issues since 2001 and more recently the Herculaneum Centre which has been working towards increased participation in Ercolano’s cultural heritage since 2007.
To see Herculaneum for yourself take our virtual tour of Herculaneum.