Perhaps surprisingly, Pompeii still continues to be at the centre of modern work. Traditionally, work at Pompeii has been devoted to elucidating the city that was destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 AD, but by that time it was already over five centuries old, and there is a splendid opportunity to excavate down beneath the destruction and discover the history of Pompeii and indeed the history of Italian towns and to chart the rise of Rome.
Pompeii began surprising early, perhaps even in the 6th century BC, and the construction of the walls may go back to this early date. However the great expansion began in the third and second centuries BC, when Pompeii came under Rome’s influence. The pace of development grew even hotter in the 1st century BC, despite Pompeii joining the Social War against Rome in 91 BC.
In a special issue devoted to Pompeii, we looked at the excavations in two houses, the House of Amarynthus and the House of the Vestals to chart their history over the centuries before their eventual destruction.