A significant portion not yet investigated in the Regio V of the ancient city of Pompeii is currently the subject of the most remarkable excavation in the post-World War II period. These activities relate to a triangular area, the so-called “wedge”, which is placed between the houses of Nozze d'Argento and Marco Lucrezio Frontone. Besides the astonishment and scientific emotions resulting from the finding of magnificent frescoed and well preserved thermopolium, dwellings and balconies, also a feeling of extreme interest in the pavement engineering arose due to a further one of a kind discovery. The Somma-Vesuvium volcanic eruption of 79 AD buried a narrow alley, i.e. vicolo dei Balconi, during the construction of its stone pavement, in which the laying of compact lava stone flags was interrupted about halfway from north to south. The eruption and the following superimposition of lapilli, ash and pumice blankets has therefore maintained in a state of perfect documental conservation the whole area, preserving the new laid flagstones still showing the original surface finishing and the preparatory subgrade. Thus, this historical and archeological source becomes a priceless engineering evidence describing some of the design and construction techniques used by the Romans at Pompeii. The excavated area has been analyzed following a cross-disciplinary approach, adopting several minimally intrusive or non-destructive techniques and instruments belonging to different branches of science to capture some specific aspects. Specifically, the alley has been initially surveyed with a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) device to build an accurate layout model of the worksite. Although the TLS survey provided an invaluable source of information for the street structures documentation, specific stone paving elements were also analyzed using close range photogrammetry techniques and their friction properties have been measured exploiting the potential of a modern road engineering device, i.e. a skid resistance tester, also known as the British pendulum tester (BPT). The consistency analysis of the subgrade structure and homogeneity in the unpaved section involved the use of two dynamic procedures, i.e. a penetrometric (dynamic cone penetrometer - DCP) and a deflectometric (light weight deflectometer - LWD) test. Besides, some design and urban planning considerations have been drawn from the analysis of the relationships between the finished structures and the pavement construction site according to the lines of the existing curbs, the thresholds of access to the dwellings and the placement of enigmatic prismatic blocks arranged in trenches, probably intended as a useful target points for the stonemasons or temporary pedestrian passage. In a wider reading a succession of paving works (and not repaving) using stone elements in this part of the city starting from the Cardo via del Vesuvio (from west to east) is recognizable.

The construction of a street never opened to traffic. The extraordinary discovery of pavement engineering in vicolo dei Balconi of Pompeii / Autelitano, F.; Bruno, N.; Martinelli, R.; Calvanese, V.; Garilli, E.; Biancardo, S. A.; Dell'Acqua, G.; Veropalumbo, R.; Zerbi, A.; Roncella, R.; Giuliani, F.. - In: JOURNAL OF CULTURAL HERITAGE. - ISSN 1778-3674. - 54(2022), pp. 108-117. [10.1016/j.culher.2022.01.012]

The construction of a street never opened to traffic. The extraordinary discovery of pavement engineering in vicolo dei Balconi of Pompeii

Autelitano F.;Bruno N.;Martinelli R.;Garilli E.;Zerbi A.;Roncella R.;Giuliani F.
2022

Abstract

A significant portion not yet investigated in the Regio V of the ancient city of Pompeii is currently the subject of the most remarkable excavation in the post-World War II period. These activities relate to a triangular area, the so-called “wedge”, which is placed between the houses of Nozze d'Argento and Marco Lucrezio Frontone. Besides the astonishment and scientific emotions resulting from the finding of magnificent frescoed and well preserved thermopolium, dwellings and balconies, also a feeling of extreme interest in the pavement engineering arose due to a further one of a kind discovery. The Somma-Vesuvium volcanic eruption of 79 AD buried a narrow alley, i.e. vicolo dei Balconi, during the construction of its stone pavement, in which the laying of compact lava stone flags was interrupted about halfway from north to south. The eruption and the following superimposition of lapilli, ash and pumice blankets has therefore maintained in a state of perfect documental conservation the whole area, preserving the new laid flagstones still showing the original surface finishing and the preparatory subgrade. Thus, this historical and archeological source becomes a priceless engineering evidence describing some of the design and construction techniques used by the Romans at Pompeii. The excavated area has been analyzed following a cross-disciplinary approach, adopting several minimally intrusive or non-destructive techniques and instruments belonging to different branches of science to capture some specific aspects. Specifically, the alley has been initially surveyed with a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) device to build an accurate layout model of the worksite. Although the TLS survey provided an invaluable source of information for the street structures documentation, specific stone paving elements were also analyzed using close range photogrammetry techniques and their friction properties have been measured exploiting the potential of a modern road engineering device, i.e. a skid resistance tester, also known as the British pendulum tester (BPT). The consistency analysis of the subgrade structure and homogeneity in the unpaved section involved the use of two dynamic procedures, i.e. a penetrometric (dynamic cone penetrometer - DCP) and a deflectometric (light weight deflectometer - LWD) test. Besides, some design and urban planning considerations have been drawn from the analysis of the relationships between the finished structures and the pavement construction site according to the lines of the existing curbs, the thresholds of access to the dwellings and the placement of enigmatic prismatic blocks arranged in trenches, probably intended as a useful target points for the stonemasons or temporary pedestrian passage. In a wider reading a succession of paving works (and not repaving) using stone elements in this part of the city starting from the Cardo via del Vesuvio (from west to east) is recognizable.
The construction of a street never opened to traffic. The extraordinary discovery of pavement engineering in vicolo dei Balconi of Pompeii / Autelitano, F.; Bruno, N.; Martinelli, R.; Calvanese, V.; Garilli, E.; Biancardo, S. A.; Dell'Acqua, G.; Veropalumbo, R.; Zerbi, A.; Roncella, R.; Giuliani, F.. - In: JOURNAL OF CULTURAL HERITAGE. - ISSN 1778-3674. - 54(2022), pp. 108-117. [10.1016/j.culher.2022.01.012]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11381/2915508
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