I see that Dr. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill will present Herculaneum: Living with Catastrophe at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater. Oh how I wish I could attend that lecture. I love living on the west coast but up here in the Pacific Northwest we seldom get the opportunity to hear such world class presentations from classical scholars like Dr. Wallace-Hadrill.
[Image of Dr. Wallace-Hadrill courtesy of The Alleghany Journal]
I always enjoy his insight that he has shared in numerous History Channel programs. Even after all of the years he has spent studying ancient Rome, he still talks about it with such marvelous enthusiasm. I had hoped to catch a glimpse of him when I visited Herculaneum in October 2007, but no such luck. I did watch some of his researchers working on this beautiful mosaic in a bath complex:
[Image: 1st century CE Roman mosaic found in the ruins of Herculaneum. Photographed by Mary Harrsch]
Herculaneum is a rather small excavation compared to Pompeii so I was able to explore it in about half a day. There is much more of the site as yet unexplored but it has been covered by the modern city of Naples so it is doubtful any more of the ancient complex will be unearthed (except perhaps, sadly, by tunneling looters). Much of the artwork originally found in Herculaneum has been removed and placed in the Museo Archaeologico di Napoli but there are still a few pieces in situ.
The day I was there, the Villa di Papiri was closed because of ongoing excavations there. I would have loved to have seen it, too, so I could compare the layout to the Getty Villa in Malibu that is based upon it.