Pompeii is simultaneously the best known and least adequately studied archaeological site in the Greco-Roman world. The project aimed to take a small slice of the city, a single block of houses or insula, excavated first half a century ago, yet never published, and to see what can be said about it now to cast light on the city, its history and its life. Its three main components were archival research into the original excavation of 1952-3, the artefacts then excavated, recording and analysis of the standing remains, and the excavation of levels below that sealed by the eruption of AD 79.
The project was undertaken by the British School at Rome (Andrew Wallace-Hadrill) in conjunction with the Department of Archaeology of the University of Reading (Michael Fulford), with the support of the Soprintendenza Archeologica Napoli e Pompei and the collaboration of the University of Suor Orsola Benincasa of Naples (Antonio De Simone and Salvatore Nappo). The project began in 1994 and involved five month-long seasons of excavation between 1995 and 1998, and continuous work on recording from January 1997 to the present. In 1997, the project has formed part of an international group of projects concerned with the same area of the city (Regio I), partly financed by the European Union. The partners were the Soprintendenza Archeologica Napoli e Pompei (Pier Giovanni Guzzo and Stefano De Caro), the University of Leiden (Herman Geertman), and the Spanish School at Rome (Antonio Mostalac Carillo); Andrew Wallace-Hadrill acted as co-ordinator. This phase of collaboration culminated in the exhibition, Sotto i lapilli di Pompei/Unpeeling Pompeii, held in Pompeii in October-December 1998.
Interim reports have been published on the first two seasons of excavation, and the final report is currently in preparation, including a forthcoming final report on the earliest (‘pre-Roman’) levels. An account for the general public is included in the exhibition catalogue, Unpeeling Pompeii.
Project director: Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill
Director of excavations: Professor Michael Fulford
Archaeological consultant: Salvatore Ciro Nappo
Archive research: Dr Joanne Berry
Supervisor of excavations: Amanda Clark
Recording structures: Sophie Hay, Christina Trier, Nowal Al-Shaikley, Anthony Sibthorpe
Computerised recording: Raphael Helman, Marie Noelle Janssens
Database programming: Jason Helman
Reconstructions: Nicholas Wood
Exhibition design: Brigitte Desrochers