Mesimex 2006 Drill
- Mesimex 2006 Drill
- The eruptive phase and the national emergency plan
- Objectives of the drill
- The scenario and the programme
- Parties involved
- Safeguarding archaeological assets
Safeguarding archaeological assets
Implementation of safety measures and recovery of assets from the Roman Villa in Somma Vesuviana
Reason and purpose of the intervention. Volcanology studies carried out on Vesuvius have confirmed that the reference event on which to base emergency planning, should the volcano recommence activity, is a sub-Plinian eruption similar to the one that occurred in 472 A.C. and in 1631. It was considered useful and necessary to include an initial implementation of safety measures and recovery of archaeological assets as part of Mesimex.
The Superintendency for archaeological heritage for the provinces of Naples and Caserta suggested that this should be carried out in the Roman Villa in Somma Vesuviana, under excavation since 2001 by Tokyo University and right inside the red zone. This intervention entails transporting cultural goods that can be moved to a safe area and onsite work to protect the objects that cannot be removed.
Eruptive phenomena expected at the villa. Computer simulation of potential “pyroclastic flows” carried out by the National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology in Pisa in collaboration with the Cineca consortium of universities in Bologna, has shown that the natural barrier represented by Monte Somma could, in certain conditions, essentially connected to the morphology of the crater plus the intensity of a hypothetical eruption, partially reduce the effect on the buildings. However, historical evidence from eruptions in the past, like for example the one in 472 A.D., shows that the probability of various kinds of phenomena affecting the zone where the villa is located cannot be ignored.
A sub-Plinian event (slightly less serious than that of Pompeii in 79 A.D.) could, in particular, cause earthquakes in the area of an intensity between grade VI and VII on the Mercalli scale, with heavy ash fall (about 2,000 kg/m² and very hot pyroclastic flow (between 250 and 300 degrees).
The drill, organised by the G.LA.BE.C. (Gruppo di lavoro interministeriale per la salvaguardia e la prevenzione dei beni culturali dai rischi naturali – interministerial work group for safeguarding and prevention of cultural assets from natural risks), is carried out by special S.A.F. teams (speleology, alpine and river experts), the fire service and Legambiente volunteers, highly specialised in the recovery and safeguarding of cultural assets, under supervision by the Superintendency for archaeological heritage for the provinces of Naples and Caserta.
Implementation of safety measures. This includes:
• identification of a suitable location for storing the movable assets to be protected, somewhere outside the “red zone”;
• packing and transporting the archaeological material to the location chosen;
• reinforcing rings applied to four columns that cannot be removed;
• recovery of two marble statues, one of which depicts the young Dionysus with a panther cub in his arms. They will be winched up to the surface from a depth of about 10 metres.
• protection with a high-temperature resistant screen of a portion of the paintings; screen efficiency tested by the “Plinivs-Lupt” study centre at the Federico II University in Naples.