Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have digitally reconstructed a house in Pompeii to envision what life in the city would have looked like before the destructive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The large house, thought to have belonged to a wealthy banker named Caecilius Iucundus, is among the first 3D models created by the research team to document and preserve the city. The team has now released video material of their work, showing their creation of a 3D model of an entire block of houses.
Following a catastrophic earthquake in Italy in 1980, which shifted the tectonics under the ancient city, causing the remaining ruins to deteriorate even further, curators from the city of Pompeii launched a call seeking international researchers to help document and preserve the city. As a result, in 2000, the Swedish Pompeii Project was founded.
The project now includes a branch of advanced digital archaeology tasked with developing 3D models of remaining and destroyed buildings.
“By combining new technology with more traditional methods, we can describe Pompeii in greater detail and more accurately than was previously possible”, says Nicoló Dell´Unto, digital archaeologist at Lund University.
The team uses archaeological findings to infer what different structures may have been used for. So far, they have, among other things, uncovered floor surfaces from AD 79, performed detailed studies of the building development through history, cleaned and documented three large wealthy estates, a tavern, a laundry, a bakery and several gardens. In one of the gardens, they were even able to identify a faucet that had been running during the time of the destruction, frozen beneath the rain of ash and pumice that fell onto the city.
Also preserved were three completely intact crystalline gypsum windows from a former Roman shop. The team has also conducted in-depth research into the infrastructural systems of Pompeii to understand how citizens used water and how the city changed throughout its existence.