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There are various impacts of the changing methods of 19th and 20th century’s archaeologists in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Changes by archaeologists like Fiorelli, Spinazzoa and Maiuri have impacted and contributed to the discovery and knowledge of the past and attracted many archaeologists, historians, scientists and even tourists from around the world. Giuiseppe Fiorelli was an archaeologist who is known for the methods he used in the excavation at Pompeii. The top down excavation was one method of Fiorelli’s.
Before Fiorelli’s method, most buildings were excavated from the side, often resulting in the destruction of walls and other valuable evidence.
Fiorelli then introduced the top down excavation which worked from the top to the bottom. It still caused some damages but it was still made to identify and record. Another method of Fiorelli’s was subdividing Pompeii into name regions and numbered street blocks (insulae). Buildings were identified by three numbers region, block and entrance.
This system made a huge impact on the excavation of Pompeii as it made it easier for archaeologist to accurately record where objects were found and examine the exact location of a particular scene/event.
Vittorio Spinazzola was another archaeologist with a different method of excavation. Spinazzola reconstructed facades and streetscapes, reconstructed upper storeys of buildings and recorded the phases of excavation with photographs. He was known for using evidence from the remains of buildings and paintings of Roman houses to reconstruct upper storeys and balconies which has been destroyed during the eruption.
Spinazzola used photography to record the stages of his excavation.
These photographs have provided valuable information for conservators and other archaeologists in later years. Amedeo Maiuri was the Superintendent of Excavations, while excavating he unearthed significant new areas along the Street of Abundance (via dell’Abbondanza) such as the amphitheatre and the Villa of Mysteries outside the Herculaneum gate. It was also Maiuri who initiated the series of stratigraphic studies to obtain the cross section that helps to identify the sequence of eruption and historical development.
The changes of methods by archaeologists of the 19th and 20th century such as Fiorelli, Spinazzoa and Maiuri have impacted both Pompeii and Herculaneum. It has helped gained further knowledge of the past and history of Pompeii and Herculaneum which has uncovered many buildings, artefacts and information to be used for study and research. It has also impacted on tourism as a whole, attracting many tourists and making Pompeii and Herculaneum well-known internationally.
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