Conservation and Preservation of the Pompeiian Architecture

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Conservation and Preservation of the Pompeiian Architecture

The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried by a volcano in 79 AD. That should be enough to destroy any town, but the city's buildings were in fact protected by this coating of ash, and although it would never be inhabited again, it now bears witness to an incredible period of history. For thousands of years, the city lay virtually undisturbed, and protected from the elements and erosion. Excavations carried out over the last centuries have allowed the city to be once again buzzing with people, and even if this notion may appear romantic, the city is also affected by the elements once again, and that is a major problem.

Since it was freed from its ash coffin, Pompeii has not fared well. The millions of yearly visitors, who flock to the site to see firsthand the living legend that is Pompeii, are causing erosion in a way that was not anticipated. The balance that had kept the city protected for so long has been disturbed, and it is now a victim of an unacceptable degree of damages.

This two-part project will look at this problem. Part one will explain the main causes and nature of the damages: World War II air raids, the earthquakes (especially 23/11/80), vegetation, water, erosion by tourists, atmospheric pollution, and restorations. Most of the information for this paper comes from Jean-Pierre Adam's book, Dégradation et restauration de l'architecture Pompéienne, which is a very thorough and detailed description of the degradation of Pompeii. Part two will deal with what is or should be done to prevent further damage and restore what has been lost, which includes proper restoration, control of tourists, and effective management of the site a...

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