At the same time as launching the site-wide emergency works campaign (this started in 2004 for decorative features and in 2005 for infrastructure and structures), work started on mapping decay throughout the entire archaeological area, both for decorated surfaces and for masonry structures. This work was coordinated by a conservator-restorer for the decorations and an architect for the structures.
Mapping is carried out in order to:
- record the major forms of decay across the entire site (both quantitatively and qualitatively);
- gather data in a way that is easy to communicate and interpret;
- highlight particular decay phenomena by using visual maps where different types of information can be superimposed to determine the cause;
- help understand the causes of decay;
- identify cases where further specialist knowledge is required;
- refine criteria for defining the priorities of the emergency works;
- have a solid basis for programming and tendering work of a similar typology, with the ability to make quantitative estimates;
- ensure constant monitoring of the archaeological site.
In addition, the data collected is then included in the Herculaneum Conservation Project database, where it can be compared to the ‘as-built’ data for both structures and decorative features. Our information management strategy aims to use this continuously updated knowledge to create a genuine tool for programming the site’s continuous care.