|Insula Orientalis I
The Insula Orientalis I (an urban block made up of three houses) was chosen as a case study area in 2002 so as to develop conservation criteria and methodologies suitable for addressing the site’s conservation needs. Indeed, the approach originally chosen by the Scientific Committee for the project was ‘learning by doing’ in a specific area of the archaeological site. This ensured that the site’s problems would influence decision-making, thereby avoiding making predetermined decisions out of context. The level of decay found in the houses of this urban block and the range of conservation problems to resolve are representative of the whole archaeological area, and so the insula is being used as a test bed for strategies to adopt in the future. In order to support planning and increase archaeological understanding of the structures, a survey was carried out of the entire insula at a scale of 1:20 and a 3D database was created. To learn more about the GIS database for the Insula Orientalis I, click here.
Using a case study area has proved to be a positive way of directing the necessary resources to a geographically limited area in an early stage, thereby avoiding wasting resources. This concentration on a specific area has allowed the project to focus quickly on decay mechanisms and to gain important knowledge about the overall fragility of the whole of Herculaneum. In this way the project team have naturally shifted attention to the rest of the site, adopting a bilateral approach with the launch of conservation work across the entire site. In this context the Insula Orientalis I case study has continued to be the best place to assess long-term strategies. The need for large-scale interventions across the site has limited the attention given to the case study, however, long-term solutions continue to be tested both within and without the insula.