Background Research

Literature Review
Background research was conducted using historic sources, art-historical, archaeological, and conservation literature to better understand the physical and conservation history of the House of the Bicentenary in the context of the site and the region; to compare the decorated architectural surfaces of the tablinum with those across the site and at other sites in the Vesuvian region; and to develop appropriate conservation methods for their treatment.

From this literature review, a bibliography is being compiled on original materials and techniques of Roman wall painting; characterization of Roman wall painting and mosaic materials; conservation of Roman wall paintings and mosaics; and site context.

Figurative Scene Survey
From 2012-2014, the project team carried out a survey of painted figurative scenes from Herculaneum. The primary objectives of the survey were to approximate the number of in situ figurative scenes across Herculaneum and to document these in terms of location, imagery, technique of execution, and condition, so as to compile an inventory of figurative scenes at the site and to enable comparisons between them to better understand their conservation issues.

Additionally, the project team surveyed a representative number of ex situ figurative scenes from Herculaneum held in the collection of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples (MANN). Information gleaned from the survey has helped the GCI team to better understand the figurative scenes of the tablinum of the House of the Bicentenary, and to contextualize these within the larger body of painted scenes across the site, both in situ and those held in the collection at MANN.

Further informal examinations of figurative scenes at other sites in the region have also provided the team with insight into differences and similarities of conditions, conservation history, and presentation of wall paintings in different contexts and other sites in the region.

Page updated: November 2017