Monday, January 14, 2013

Friends events at the British Museum

The Friends of Herculaneum are pleased to announce a series of lectures that will accompany the upcoming British Museum exhibition, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum (click) 28 March - 29 September. Because AFoH membership offers reciprocal benefits with the UK Friends, American members are able to claim discounted admission to all events listed below.

The 31 May lecture is sponsored specifically by the Friends of Herculaneum. Some details are still under discussion - ticketing arrangements, the possibility of an associated tour - but we wanted to communicate the date to you so you could put it in your diaries. The lecture is one of a series of four:

Vesuvius: a volcano, its history and legacy.
BP Lecture Theatre
Friday 3 May, 18.30
Three leading experts discuss one of the world's most famous volcanoes: Prof Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo (The Vesuvius Observatory); Prof Iain Stewart, (University of Plymouth and prime contributor to the BBC TV series, Volcano); Dr Clive Oppenheimer (University of Cambridge, author of Explosions that shook the world).   
They discuss the context of Vesuvius' explosion in AD79, looking at previous eruptions, the effect the AD79 explosion had on nearby settlements and the lessons the area has learnt as a consequence.   Q&A chaired by Prof Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, who also shares his findings on the effect of earth movements on the built environment of Herculaneum.
       £5, Members/concessions £3

Bodies of Pompeii and Herculaneum
BP Lecture Theatre
Friday 24 May, 18.30
Archaeologist and social anthropologist, Dr Estelle Lazer, (University of Sydney), has worked extensively excavating and interpreting the human remains that survive at Pompeii and Herculaneum.   She explores what these bones tell us about life and death in this area in AD79, across the social spectrum.
  An evening hosted by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill. £5, Members/concessions £3

**New discoveries at Herculaneum**
BP Lecture Theatre
Friday 31 May, 18.30
Prof. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, author of Herculaneum: Past and Future (2011), discusses the amazing new discoveries resulting from his experience of working with the Herculaneum Conservation Project, considering how they illuminate our understanding of life in this once vibrant town on the Bay of Naples.
   *Event run in association with the Friends of Herculaneum.
£5, Members/concessions £3

Fictionalising Pompeii
BP Lecture Theatre
Friday 12 July, 18.30
Lindsey Davis, historical novelist, author of the famous series of 20 novels relating to the Roman "detective" Marcus Didius Falco, speaks on the attraction, considerations and processes of writing so vividly on life in the Roman World, particularly on Pompeii, a story to which we all know the end.
   Lecture followed by book-signing by the author.
  Event introduced by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill.
£5, Members/concessions £3

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Carol Mattusch new president of AFoH

Carol Mattusch was elected president of the American Friends of Herculaneum at last week's annual board meeting. She replaces founding president Ann Kuttner who will continue to serve the organization as a member of the governing board.

Prof. Mattusch is Mathy Professor of Art History at George Mason University. She has curated recent, important exhibits on Herculaneum and Vesuvian culture at the National Gallery of Art and (with board member Ken Lapatin) at the Getty and the LA County Museum of Art. She has served in numerous positions in the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and in the Archaeological Institute of America. Her publications on Greek bronzes and Vesuvian art history have won significant book awards.  

C. Mattusch, center right, accompanies former Italian Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi, National Gallery Director
E.A. Powell, and former First Lady Laura Bush through
the Pompeii exhibit she curated in 2008.  —Photo from Coates et al, edd,
The Last Days of Pompeii: decadence, apocalypse, resurrection (Malibu, 2012).
Most recently, she published Johann Joachim Winckel-
mann: Letter and Report: Antiquities, Archaeology, and Politics in 18th-Century Naples (Malibu, 2011.  Of her several other books especially the two on Vesuvian studies,  Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples (Washington DC, 2008)  and The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum: Life and Afterlife of  a Sculpture Collection (Malibu, 2005), are already in the hands of all serious students of Herculaneum.

Prof. Mattusch has a long-standing involvement with the Friends of Herculaneum. Before her election, she was a founding member of the Board. She was a headliner speaker on "How the Villa dei Papiri wrote the History of Ancient Art" at the 2006 UK Friends of Herculaneum colloquium held at the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences in London. And her report on the National Gallery exhibit she curated appeared in issue 12 of Herculaneum Archaeology: the Friends' newsletter.

Friends of Herculaneum will look for exciting advances in AFoH under Prof. Mattusch's leadership.

 — RTM

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Herculaneum book wins AIA award

    At the January 2013 joint meetings of the Archaeological Institute of America and the American Philological Association, Andrew Wallace-Hadrill received the 2012 Felicia A. Holton Book Award for representing "the importance and excitement of archaeology" to the general public.

The title of Wallace-Hadrill’s book, Herculaneum:  Past and Future (Frances Lincoln Limited Publishers with The Packard Humanities Institute, 2011), recalls C. Waldstein and L. Shoobridge, Herculaneum: Past, Present, and Future (Macmillan and Co. Limited, 1908), which provided overviews of the excavations, the ancient testimonia, and the finds, along with a proposal for continuing the excavation of the ancient town with international support and cooperation. This has indeed now happened, with the support of the Packard Humanities Institute since 2001. Wallace-Hadrill gives an up-to-date look at the background and history of the site, writing in a lively and compelling style. His magnificently illustrated book covers Vesuvian geology, the early Spanish Bourbon excavations of Herculaneum, the politics of restoration, the town, its people — from rich to poor — trades, homes, public buildings, old finds and new discoveries, and he concludes with modern efforts at conservation and protection.

            Wallace-Hadrill also delivered a paper on the "Packard Humanities Institute's Conservation Project at Herculaneum and New Discoveries" in an AIA session entitled "The Packard Humanities Institute: A Quarter Century of Contributions to Archaeology." He addressed the value of multidisciplinary teamwork in the conservation and maintenance of the site, and showed how at the same time new discoveries have been made and new conclusions have been reached. Among the most interesting recent finds that he discussed were timbers from an ancient roof and its decorated ceiling, which had been swept down to the ancient shore during the eruption of AD 79.

— Carol Mattusch

Sunday, January 6, 2013

AFoH Panel at AIA

Seattle, Saturday 5 January 2012

American Friends of Herculaneum sponsor panel at American Institute of Archaeology

Adrian Stähli answers a question in the Q&A of Saturday's panel.
Joining him (l-r): Ken Lapatin, Victoria Coates, Carol Mattusch, Eugene Dwyer, (Stähli) and John Seydl.
A panel of papers delighted a large room full of listeners at the annual meetings of the American Institute of Archaeology/American Philological Association. Organized by new AFoH president Carol C. Mattusch and board-member Kenneth Lapatin, the panelist discussed in roughly chronological order many diverse aspects of the modern artistic reception of Herculaneum.

Prof. Mattusch and Prof. Dwyer each discussed the history of early excavations at the site and taught about the museological development related to Herculaneum's spectacular early revelations. Prof. Coates delivered a multifaceted paper about three female characters who have emerged from the literary response to Herculaneum, Bulwer-Lytton's Nydia, Gautier's Arria Marcella, and Jensen's Gradiva. Prof. Stähli covered the extraordinarily rich cinematic reception of Vesuvian cataclysm, from Gli Ultimi Giorni di Pompei to Anno 79 and well beyond. Prof. Seydl offered far-ranging instruction on Postwar sculptural reception of Vesuvian victims, plastercasts and other artifacts that have made a lasting impression on the art of our day.

All papers were illustrated copiously with excellent visual support. Interested scholars may wish to follow the lecture series that will accompany the remarkable museum exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art during the Spring of 2013. Details for The Last Days of Pompeii: decadence, apocalypse, resurrection at Cleveland Museum of Art.

On Saturday, after a greeting from Lapatin, the audience was invited to join the American Friends in its efforts to raise funds for student fellowships and other related purposes. Several membership pledges were received at the meeting and a handful of new members joined.

— Roger Macfarlane