HERCULANEUM
Destruction and Re-discovery
Stabiae ( 1 2 )
Excavations began in Stabiae in 1749, one year after those at Pompeii and eleven after those at Herculaneum. The excavations were directed by Cavaliere Rocco de Alcubierre under the auspices of Charles de Bourbon.

Alcubierre, together with Karl Weber, worked on the excavation of the Villa San Marco between 1749 and 1754, laterly extending the excavation to cover the Villa of the Shepherd. 
 
The site expanded between 1757 and 1762 to include the Villa Arianna and the surounding area and continued again, after a break of 13 years, between 1775 until 1782. 
The picture above is the plan of the Villa San Marco drawn by Karl Weber.  In 1782 the excavated buildings were re-buried.
 
After the Bourbon excavations, there were only occasional discoveries. Perhaps just as well, as the illustration on the right shows that excavation techniques at that time left a lot to be desired.

Systematic excavations began after the end of World War II.  In 1950 local enthusiasts began the re-excavation of the Villa Arianna, and part of the Villa San Marco.

The excavations continued methodically until interrupted in 1962. The material uncovered during this period included some frescoes and these and other artifacts form the nucleus of the collection in the Stabian Antiquarium.
Villa San Marco
The Villa San Marco derives its name from a chapel built on the site in the second half of the 18th century.  The original building, dating from the reign of Augustus, comprised a few rooms built round an atrium with four Ionic columns.  It was considerably extended during the Claudian period to include a garden with a three-sided portico and a swimming pool, surmounted by a colonnade with tortile columns. These additions modified the original layout, leaving the entrance and original nucleus lying obliquely to the new axis, to create one of the largest villas in the area (about 11,000 sq.m.).
The main entrance to the villa from the street gives onto a small peristyle providing  access to  the tablinum and the atrium, round which are four cubicula.
 
This in turn gives access to a small but luxurious private bath suite, the entrance to which is through a small
atrium painted with scenes of cupids, renovated in the Claudian era in early fourth style.
 
The complex consists of a
calidarium with a large bath, a tepidarium and an outdoor frigidarium.
 
The lower
peristyle, containing a 30m long garden and pool, has an alcove at one end decorated with frescoes.  At each end of the side porticos are beautifully  decorated
diaetae where members of the household could relax and take their ease.

The walls of the main reception room were clad in lower a frieze of fine marbles with painted stucco above.
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