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So How Much Longer Will We Be Cooking in the Bedroom? Living through Post-earthquake Restoration at Pompeii

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, October 25, 2017. 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Archaeology Center; Building 500, 488 Escondido Mall MC 2170
Workshop: 
Data Scarcity of the Earth and Human Past
Meeting Description: 

In the winter of 62/3 CE, as mentioned by both Seneca (QN 6.1.1-3) and Tacitus (Ann. 15.22), the ancient city of Pompeii was struck by a massive earthquake. This event was so traumatic that even seventeen years later when Vesuvius erupted, much of the city had only been partially repaired. This observation is of deep significance for understanding the evidence presented by the site and impacts practically everything that can be said about the city, its population, and the degree to which its remains are the result of “normal” urban Roman daily life in the 1st c. CE. 

While most scholars would agree that Maiuri’s (1942) pessimistic and classist narrative of social decline and elite abandonment of the city should be rejected, most still reconstruct a Pompeii whose final years were disturbed and abnormal. This paper by Michael Anderson presents the results of research into the visual and spatial use of the Pompeian domestic landscape, which, in comparison with finds distributions, suggests a diverse pattern of disturbance, coexistence and continuity during the site’s final years. From the compromises made by individual house owners to the suggestion of municipal reconstruction initiatives, this research presents new perspectives on a dynamic city living through trying times.

Michael Anderson received a B.A. in history and an M.A. in Archaeology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1997 and 2001, respectively.  In 2005, he received a Ph.D. in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge, where his dissertation was entitled, ‘Visitors, Inhabitants, Space and Power in the Roman House.’  He has worked at the site of Pompeii since 1996 and has been the Director of the Via Consolare Project since 2006.  He has published numerous articles and chapters on Roman urbanism and domestic space, and is currently completing the publication of excavations undertaken in the Casa del Chirurgo (House of the Surgeon), Pompeii by the University of Bradford between 2002-2006.

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