Pompeii is a historic site with lots to still uncover.

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius happened in 79 AD. At that time, the ancient village of Pompeii and its surroundings were buried under volcanic ash.

It wasn’t until 1549 that Pompeii was discovered. Even though it was discovered then, the site remained untouched for another two hundred years.

How did Pompeii get discovered?

Pompeii was discovered in 1549 by an Italian man named Domenico Fontana. He was an architect who was sent to the area to create a water channel. The purpose of this water channel was to divert the water from the Sarno River. When he was creating the water channel, he ended up digging through Pompeii. Despite this, the city was not immediately uncovered.

Fast forward to 1748 when a Spanish engineer, de Alcubierre, went to the area. He was sent by King Charles VII of Naples to dig at the site. It was known locally as a place with memories hidden beneath, but nobody knew to what extent.

The original intention of uncovering the site was to collect various objects such as statues and paintings for the king’s palace. The king tried to keep Pompeii a secret, but word began to spread.

There have been a few issues over the years with the excavation of Pompeii. In the mid-1800s, an Italian archaeologist requested that the reckless digging at the site come to a stop. The people digging up until then were untrained or only seeking buried treasures. The archaeologist required that all the excavation sites be carefully documented.

Excavation paused during World War II and resumed in the 1950s. By the end of the 20th century, almost two-thirds of Pompeii had been fully discovered.

Why is Pompeii not fully excavated?

When Pompeii was buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, it was protected by a thick layer of ash. Much of the remains were well preserved, allowing us to be able to get a good idea of what the city was like.

As Pompeii is excavated, the layer of protection from the ash is being removed. This causes the ruins to be susceptible to damage. Because of this, the priority is more focused on preservation than rapid discovery.

Pompeii will continue to be uncovered over the years, and with a strong level of care, the ruins will be available to explore for many years as well.
Visit Pompeii on one of our tours to learn even more about the historic area!

You can embark on a tour to Pompeii, Sorrento, or Naples. Or, you can make your own way to Pompeii and join a guided tour. This two-hour walking tour is the perfect way to start the morning and learn about the ancient city’s highlights. If you want to spend a full day exploring the ruins, join this adventurous Pompeii and Vesuvius tour from Naples!

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