Epifanio Furnari (ed.), Neapolis: La valorizzazione dei beni culturali e ambientali. Vol. I. Pp. xvi + 166, incl. 8 tables and 6 figures. Neapolis: Temi progettuali. Vol. II. Pp. 291, incl. 13 figures (Pt. 1), 17 tables and 12 figures (Pt. 2), 2 tables and 19 figures (Pt. 3), 16 figures (Pt. 4). Neapolis: Planimetria della cittā antica di Pompei. Vol. III. 24 charts, a tabulation of the charts and an aerophotogrammetric plan of ancient Pompeii. Ministerio per i beni culturali e ambientali soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei 7. Roma: L'Erma di Bretschneider, 1994. ISBN 88- 7062-865-5. Lit. 1,000,000.
E. Simon and E.A. Mackay
University of Natal, Durban
These three volumes, collectively volume 7 in the monograph series of the soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei, are produced by the consorzio Neapolis in collaboration with the soprintendenza. The consortium consists of a large number of Italian scholars and computer specialists who have compiled and analyzed material from the Vesuvius region.
Volume I describes, in a manner that is scientific but accessible (just) to the 'scientific laymen' among the archaeological fraternity, the planning and development of this highly ambitious project, which was designed to create an archaeological data bank on the region of Naples that will provide for the future an invaluable foundation for archaeological research on a broad front.
Volume 2, which is divided into four sections, each edited by a different member of the consortium, provides a comprehensive description of the themes and undertakings of the project; the text includes many helpful illustrations in black- and-white or colour.
Part I: 'L'elaborazione numerica delle immagini' (pp. 11- 34) subedited by Stefano Bruschini, describes the process of recording in digital form suitable for the data bank a variety of types of images, such as aerial photographs, Pompeian wall- paintings and graffiti, and the handwritten journals of nineteenth century excavations. This will be of interest to anyone involved in building up a computerised image bank, for instance of a museum collection, as well as to those with a particular interest in the region under discussion.
Part II: 'Dell'ubicazione originaria di affreschi e mosaici pompeiani oggi nel Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli e a Pompei' (pp. 37-162) compiled by various members of the research team, collates information on the original find- locations of the Pompeian frescoes and mosaics currently housed in the museums of Naples and Pompeii. The synoptic table on pp. 50-75 might be regarded as the essence of this section, piecing together in tabular form numerous older inventories and catalogues of paintings (such as Helbig's Wandgemälde and Sogliano's Le pitture murali Campane--all the inventories and catalogues are separately reproduced in tabular form following the synoptic table) with correlations of all the various reference numbers associated with the objects and noting as precisely as possible the regio, insula and sometimes even a more precise findspot for the objects. This will be a research tool of considerable importance, particularly since the Naples National Museum and that at Pompeii do not generally provide accessible information on the proveniences of their exhibited materials.
Part III: 'Urbanistica pompeiana: nuovi momenti di studio' (pp. 163-218) subedited by Paolo Sommella, traces the pattern of development both of Pompeii as a whole and of individual houses, showing how the latter were enlarged and recording the changes in function of certain areas. The text is amply supported by plans and diagrams.
Part IV: 'Nuovi contributi all'identificazione del litorale antico di Pompei' (pp. 219-291) subedited by Epifanio Furnari, provides an exhaustive discussion of the process of identifying the ancient shore-line of Pompeii, taking into account every conceivable methodological approach. Again, a number of maps and plans help the reader to translate the text into topography.
Volume III is a well-boxed, beautifully-presented, colour- coded set of 24 topographical surveys of the whole of the excavated Pompeian region, including very detailed indications of contour levels, vegetation, fences, access routes, water courses, and ancient structures. One irritating phenomenon is that frequently the numerical references are superimposed, so that they are undecipherable.
In general, these three volumes conjointly offer an invaluable research tool to anyone with an interest in virtually any aspect of the excavated Pompeian area. The research team, the editorial team and the soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei are to be congratulated on the bringing to fruition and painstaking presentation of an ambitious and most worthwhile undertaking.