Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Herculaneum, Pompeii and Stabiae were destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that killed thousands in the year 79. The layers of volcanic ash preserved the sites for centuries, providing precious information on domestic life in the ancient world.
Archaeologists said the throne was an exceptional find; furniture of its type had previously only been seen in artistic depiction."It's the first original throne from Roman times that has survived until today," Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, Pompeii's archaeological superintendent, told a news conference in Rome.Villa dei Papiri, so called because it has yielded a library of hundreds of ancient papyruses, has only been partially excavated and it is not yet clear whether the throne belonged to the ancient residence, said Maria Paola Guidobaldi, the dig's director.
The throne depicts Greek mythological figures absorbed by Rome's culture and is decorated with images of the gods Attis and Dionysus, as well as pine cones and phalluses.Experts said the reliefs recall the "Attideia" ceremonies, which commemorated the death and resurrection of Attis, husband and victim of the goddess Cibele, and were introduced to the Roman calendar by the Emperor Claudius.
The fragile remains will now undergo a lengthy restoration, while archaeologists hope to discover many more precious artifacts as the dig in the Villa dei Papiri continues, Guidobaldi said.


Jennifer said...

Did you get to see the Pompeii exhibit at the Museum of Natural History last summer? It was a little slice of what was found -- fascinating stuff.

Jennifer said...

-- actually now that I remember, it was at the Civilization Museum, the one with the Imax, not the dinosaurs

STAG said...

The one in Canada you mean? Sadly no, I figured I had seen the originals over in Italy, and figured the exhibit would be a shadow. I regret taking friends to see it, and being too cheap to pay the special exhibit price...the special exhibits are behind huge glass windows, and you can look in and get tantalized. No doubt they do that on purpose. I believe I went to see the "skating" exhibit in the same hall instead.