Antiquarium of Pompeii, a taste of the exhibition

by Echo of the Sirens

In January 2021 it was reopened to the public, with a new look, theAntiquarium of Pompeii: a museum itinerary, consisting of eleven rooms, which allows visitors to further enrich their knowledge of the history of the city. Each find, kept and exhibited inside the Antiquarium of Pompeii, has great charm, magnetism and an absolute ability to synthesize and symbolize micro-stories. It was difficult to make a selection of the items to be included in this article, but our goal was to give you only one small taste of the exhibition and in doing so pique your curiosity.

Effects of the earthquake imprinted on the marble

Marble relief exhibited in & #039; Antiquarium of Pompeii

One of the most interesting finds is a bas-relief that portrays the city during the earthquake of February 5, 62 AD. The sculptor represented some of the buildings of the forum in an inclined way, thus emphasizing the effects caused by the tremors. Pompeii it was one of the cities most affected and many were the necessary renovations. The city was transformed into a large construction site, the streets were crowded with workers busy rebuilding temples and arranging frescoes. Some buildings were so damaged that, in 79 AD, they were still being rebuilt and today there are several points of the archaeological site where it is possible to see the traces of those "works in progress".

Treasure of the sorceress

Amulets found in the garden house in Pompeii

The witch's treasure is a casket, which emerged from the ashes during the excavations of Regio V, in which they were kept mirrors, necklaces, gems and amulets in bone, bronze, amber, glass paste. The box was found in a service area of the Garden house and most likely it belonged to one of the women of the house. The objects found, even if of different shapes - phalluses, scarabs, skulls, bells - all have a strong superstitious value. It is therefore, most likely, decorations worn by the owner - probably a woman with thaumaturgical powers - during particular magical rituals.

Echo of the Sirens Tour

Powder pigments

Powder pigments

To attract particular attention there are also some terracotta bowls with powdered pigments which were ready to be used by a Pictor for a decoration ad fresco. Looking at this showcase, the fantastic decorations of the houses in Pompeii immediately come to mind and one often wonders how it is possible that they have been preserved so well to this day. The answer is simple: it is all thanks to the resistance of the fresco technique and the skill of those who created it. Teamwork and excellent organization were essential to obtain a good result. First of all the surface had to be prepared: several layers of lime and inert material were made. Then the colors were prepared, obtained from minerals and vegetables, reduced to powder thanks to the use of grinders and mortars. At this point the pictor he painted on the wall still "fresh" with the colors dissolved in water. During the carbonation phase of the plaster, the color was incorporated into the surface by purchasing great resistance to water and time.


Tintinnabula exhibited in the Pompeii Antiquarium

In ancient times, owning a rattle, like the one in the photo, a phallic form with bells was not considered a scandal. It is a tinkling, an object lucky charm, usually hung on the door of the house or shop. Its apotropaic power served to ward off the evil eye and ensure prosperity and wealth. In ancient times the penis was considered as a symbol of fertility and for this reason used in the most varied ways, it is therefore no coincidence that in Pompeii they found themselves pendants, lanterns, signs, sculptures and many other phallic shaped objects. A little curiosity: the Neapolitan lucky charm par excellence, o 'curniciello, it derives from the phallus of Priapus, whose shape has been stylized over time to adapt to cultural changes.

Trunk of Cypress

cypress trunk

In the 1990s a trunk of Charred cypress near the ancient course of the Sarno river. The tree was part of a cypress grove used for the wood production, in fact the Cupressus sempervirens it was in great demand both for the processing of furniture and fixtures and as a remedy against snake bites. The find remained for several years in the deposit of the archaeological park in stable light and humidity conditions, factors that guaranteed its good state of conservation. On the occasion of the opening of the Antiquarium of Pompeii, one was therefore provided Extraordinary maintenance. The main transactions carried out were those of cleaning, consolidation and final protection. The enhancement of this specimen is very important given the rarity of preserved ancient woods.

The first cast of a horse in the Pompeii antiquarium

Cast of an equine

In 2018 for the first time it was possible to reproduce the silhouette of an equine with the technique of plaster casts. The cast was made during the excavation campaign in Civita Giuliana. The specimen was found, together with two other horses, in a service area of a villa. At the time the equines were divided into several categories based on their value. The specimen found had near the skulls of the iron and bronze harnesses, elements that have led to the hypothesis that the animal belongs to the "noblest race". It was therefore most likely a representative animal belonged to a wealthy man of ancient Pompeii.

For guided visits to the Antiquarium of Pompeii entrusted to Eco delle Sirene tour. For information visit the site

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