Friday, 15 September 2017

New publication: Ercolano 1927-1961. L’impresa archeologica di Amedeo Maiuri 
This volume is published in time to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the launch of excavations at Herculaneum by Amedeo Maiuri. Thanks to the Herculaneum Conservation Project which has been studying and conserving the archaeological site for over a decade, the authors have come into daily contact with the results of Maiuri' s extraordinary legacy of excavation and restoration that he carried out from 1927 to 1961. His ambitious dream to uncover the ancient Roman city was fulfilled by organizing every step of site works from excavation to restoration efficiently, through to the on-site display of the most significant finds. In this way the site became a sort of open-air museum in which the artefacts were contextualised; not just works of ancient art but mainly those finds which illustrated daily life in the past. Unfortunately, over the years as visitor numbers increased so did the risk of theft and damage to the objects, leading over time to their removal to storerooms. Maiuri' s innovative experiment to make Herculaneum an open-air museum was gradually forgotten.
The first part of the volume, by Domenico Camardo and Mario Notomista, follows the personal and professional life of Amedeo Maiuri, from his early experiences in Greece through to his return to Naples as superintendent, when he turned his attention to Herculaneum. There then follows a contribution by Paola Pesaresi who reconstructs how he organized his site works and discusses his restoration methodology at Herculaneum. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill' s chapter explores instead Maiuri' s extraordinary abilities as an advocate for Herculaneum, raising awareness of its significance among the general public. Massimo Osanna also focuses on Maiuri' s abilities as a communicator, but this time through the series of displays he set up within the archaeological spaces at Pompeii and Herculaneum. In the third part of the volume, the editors provide a full catalogue of the on-site displays that Maiuri created at Herculaneum, well illustrated with plans and archive images. The volume then finales with an extraordinary selection of over 130 archive photographs, most of them previously unpublished, that allow the reader greater understanding of Amedeo Maiuri' s major archaeological venture at Herculaneum.
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