RECONSTRUCTING THE ROOF OF A PALACE IN HERCULANEUM. Daisy Dunne has an article on the Daily Mail web site about archaeological finds near Herculaneum, which have permitted the reconstruction of the roof of a palace there. Wood that remains wet can last a long time and lead to archaeological successes. A number of wooden timbers which were part of the roof of the palace—some of them 21 feet long— survived for over 2000 years covered with sand on a beach near Herculaneum (which was destroyed at the same time that Pompeii was destroyed). Over a period of two to three years, scientists were able to restore the palace’s red, blue, yellow and green roof tiles by analyzing paint traces from the recovered timber. One third of the ceiling has been reconstructed, much of the rest of it buried under 43 feet of volcanic rock.

The building was truly a palace. It had a 30 foot high dining room with marble floors and a gilded multicolored ceiling. The find confirms how well prominent Romans could live outside of the city. The palace is thought to have belonged to a former governor of Crete. (The governorship of a province could be an extremely lucrative position.)

A year ago, I said in this post that if I could dig anywhere it would be Herculaneum.

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