4 – Pompeii Was Uncovered & Hidden Again
Those who have a cursory knowledge of the eruption and the town of Pompeii probably believe it lay undiscovered until the 18th century. In fact, it was discovered by Domenico Fontana in 1599. Before his accidental uncovering of Pompeii, the events of 79 AD stayed in the minds of Romans for a long time but were eventually forgotten. The destruction of Pompeii was soon perceived as a myth, and it became known as the lost city; it was also known as La Cavita.
That is until the end of the 16th century when Fontana and his workers found Pompeii when digging a new course for the River Sarno. They found a number of frescoes containing sexually explicit images by the standards of the era. As the frescoes were deemed too erotic, the workers buried them to censor the archaeology. According to the reports of later explorers, some of the sites had previously been worked on.
Because of this censorship, one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time remained buried for another 150 years. It was only after neighboring towns such as Herculaneum were excavated in the 18th century that Pompeii was rediscovered. In 1748, Charles Bourbon, the King of Naples, told a surveying engineer to find ancient statues and other treasures and bring them to the Spanish Court. The engineer found antiques at a place called La Cavita; started digging and was amazed to uncover a town.
There have been countless excavations at Pompeii ever since and they showed an enormous number of intact buildings and wall paintings. Since the middle of the 18th century, it has been possible to visit Pompeii and get a glimpse into what life was like for Romans in the first century AD.