Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Pompeii Silver

Hope this link is appropriate. Interesting article about a recently
found cache of silverware items perfectly preserved by the volcanic
ash

Thanks!
Kerry
CeltCraft Beads & Jewelry

Rare Pompeii dinner set unveiled
By David Willey

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4695097.stm

A set of ancient silverware has been dug up from Pompeii, the
Roman city destroyed by a volcano 2,000 years ago. The
hand-crafted goblets, plates and trays had been bundled into a
wicker basket by an inhabitant fleeing the erupting Mount
Vesuvius in AD 79.

The tableware, well preserved in ash and mud, was discovered
five years ago and archaeologists have used the latest
techniques to separate 20 pieces.

Experts say it is the most important find of this kind for 70
years.

Thousands of inhabitants of Pompeii gathered up what few
possessions they hoped to save and tried to escape from the
firestorm and the clouds of volcanic ash and mud which
descended upon their city.

Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, in charge of the excavations at the
world’s first scientifically excavated archaeological site,
told a news conference that the remains of up to 2,000 citizens
of Pompeii out of a population of 10,000 to 15,000, trapped by
the eruption have so far been recovered.

“But no-one knows exactly how many managed to escape,” he
said.

Silverware stashed

One man bundled his family silverware into a wicker basket and
ran for his life.

He hid the basket in a stairwell in some public baths on the
outskirts of the city before being overcome by fumes.

Archaeologists checking on the building of a new motorway near
Pompeii dug it up, next to the man’s skeleton.

The wicker basket and its contents were congealed into a solid
block.

Working with the latest archaeological techniques, including
x-ray, experts have managed to separate the silverware, remove
the heavy encrustations of the eruption and salvage them.

The remains of the basket are currently being treated with
chemicals to preserve the vegetable fibre and are also
expected to be put on show eventually.

The solid silver plates and goblets - all beautifully polished

  • were brought to Rome under heavy security guard for a
    private viewing. Together they weigh more than 4kg (9lbs).

I saw two exquisitely engraved wine cups, a set of small
dishes, a large serving plate with an elaborately chased
border, a spoon, plus some tiny, finely worked silver trays
for appetisers.

Two other similar and larger hoards of table silver excavated
in Pompeii during the 19th and 20th Centuries are on show in
the Louvre museum in Paris and at the National Archaeological
Museum in Naples. But no new treasure trove of this quality
from Pompeii has been seen for more than 70 years. It will be
put on show at the Naples museum during 2006.

Tight security

Italian Culture Minister Rocco Buttiglione, who attended the
unveiling of the display, the property of the Italian state,
said Italy was drawing up new measures to protect its cultural
treasures, after the bomb attacks in London.

“We don’t want to send out the wrong message,” he said. “But
at a time of rampant international terrorism we need to make
our museums even safer. We are improving their security and
that of visitors.”

There will be an increase in security guards, surveillance
cameras and the use of metal detectors.

Other tourist attractions such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa
and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence have been identified by
government security advisers as possible targets for attacks.