Project > Background

Invest in the future, preserve monuments, develop new skills.


The world is rapidly changing, and yet the archaeological ruins that have survived for thousands of years continue to fascinate us more and more. Each point on the map that marks these famous and irreplaceable historical monuments is an indication of their importance to the present. 

Across the globe, world heritage sites attract millions of visitors because these places offer a rare and priceless window into humanity‘s shared past; these grounds are sacred in their universal appeal. It is imperative that we preserve and protect these monuments. With them we not only preserve antiquity but we also develop new skills: memorials can be centers of learning, provided that their restoration is merged with the training of new professionals and research in the humanities and the sciences. To this end, several world-famous, prestigious research institutions have united to realize a conservation project that gives a long-term perspective to important monuments in Pompeii, trains young talents and promotes research in several fields.

In order to pursue new paths quickly and efficiently, the POMPEII  SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT seeks financial support from partners whose interest in antiquity equals that for highest-quality research and the training of our brightest talents in restoration and archaeology.

Digital documentation constitutes the basis for conservatorial interventions and for presenting research and on-site work at the necropolis of Porta Nocera to the public. The growing amount of data we owe to the work of CNR-IBAM as this film illustrates.

Where we operate


Pompeii, which sits 25 km outside of Naples, Italy at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, holds unique standing as one of the world’s most beloved and well-known remaining monuments. This city disappeared in 79 A.D. under the ashes of the volcano Vesuvius. Antiquity has survived there for almost 2000 years as if it were enclosed in a time capsule. The excavated city gives people today the unique opportunity of traveling in time: with its 2.5 million visitors per year, Pompeii is one of the most-visited sites in the world. But Pompeii is not only a world-famous monument site but also a unique restoration archive.

The vast number of objects that have survived here and the complexity of the problems afflicting Pompeii make it the natural choice for our project. The solution requires innovation and the use of new methods for sustainable conservation. Furthermore, because of the variety of the objects that have been preserved in Pompeii, the solutions we develop can help answer questions pertaining to the refurbishment of the entire ancient European region and places beyond. Pompeii’s prominence among the ancient monuments of the Western world assures that this will become a high profile project, which also enhances the exemplary character of this undertaking. From 2015 through 2025, we intend to  restore the most vulnerable parts of Pompeii; at the same time, we will work on new approaches to restoration and materials in order to help create lasting techniques for the conservation of ancient sites in general.
Our contribution will not be limited solely to Pompeii’s preservation,  where we contribute by accompanying the continuous work of the Soprintendenza and, now, the Grande Progetto Pompei; our methods and results will be applicable to other ancient remains around the world. Finally, we want to create in Pompeii a center of excellence for conservation research and for the multidisciplinary training of young conservators.

Where we start


In fall 2014, the POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT made a first preparatory conservation survey in a very prominent area next to the entrance of the city. The necropolis at the Porto Nocera Gate contains 60 funeral monuments, and the area serves as the main entrance to the site from the modern city of Pompeii.

Like all Roman cities, from the 1st century A.D., Pompeii buried its dead in grave monuments that were constructed along the wide streets outside the city gates; in Pompeii, however, those tombs are far better preserved than anywhere else. In fact, there is no other city in the whole Roman Empire from which we know the different burial grounds (or necropoleis) better than we do in Pompeii: in the tomb chambers and on the facades of the monuments are still-visible paintings and stucco-work that formed the architectural structure. In the niches remain the statues and busts of the deceased, whose names are preserved in the inscriptions on the front of the monument. Graffiti with slogans for political elections and advertisements for gladiator games are  testimonies to the fact that this was once a lively and much-frequented quarter, where the traffic of the huge streets outside the city mixed with funeral ceremonies and burial rituals. Together with the other four necropoleis of Pompeii, the Porta Nocera cemetery is an important part of the city. Here we find honorary monuments for prominent citizens next to family monuments, graves of freedmen and slaves, men and women, citizens and strangers. In its diversity the necropolis is the perfect mirror of the local society and offers a unique chance to understand the ancient world.

Additionally, the necropoleis of Pompeii offer perspective on the area’s living restoration-history. This allows us an excellent opportunity to examine the restoration and reconstruction history in its conservation success, art-historical aims and its consequences.

Here the POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT will start its work. The funeral monuments offer everything that our project seeks: we can study and restore ancient plaster, mortar, building structures, statues, small artifacts and wall paintings. At the same time, we can teach conservation sciences and help to instill a fascination for ancient monuments and their conservation in students of all ages.

3 Aspects – 20 Points:



  • Sustainable and ‘holistic’ restoration
  • Preventive conservation and maintenance
  • Documentation and publication
  • Creation of a center for archiving of data pertaining to restoration
  • Support for implementing the Soprintendenza’s 
  • monitoring system for an early detection of damages to the site
  • Development of ruins-friendly concepts for opening the site to the public 


  • Training of students in restoration, archaeology and history of architecture
  • Further education for professional restorers from other cultural areas
  • Interdisciplinary seminars on the topic of the maintenance of archaeological ruins
  • Courses on Pompeii for schools of the Vesuvian region and international partner schools
  • Training for guards and keepers
  • International workshops and meetings for training in specific skills


  • Development of new, sustainable restoration methods
  • Development of durable conservation materials
  • Research on climate for a preventive conservation
  • Archaeological research
  • Research on building techniques in ancient architecture
  • Work on the social aspects of the lives of the inhabitants of the area
  • Development of digital means of presentation that are based on the findings from present buildings 
  • Studies on the history of restoration in Pompeii



The POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT has conducted a first preliminary campaign in the fall of 2014. Together with Prof. Dr. Massimo Osanna, Pompeii’s Superintendent, in June 2014 the project partners defined an area in Pompeii where our project could start: the Necropolis of the Porta Nocera.

The campaign was made possible by a start-up grant from the presidents of Italy’s National Research Council Prof. Dr. Luigi Nicolais, and of the German Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Prof. Dr. Raimund Neugebauer.

The main aim of this campaign was to have a complete overview of the status of the necropolis, its tombs, and its problems. Further objectives were to determine what the site would offer for our project, to develop concepts for future conservation interventions, and to prepare a proposal for research and educational activities. A second task was to develop a dialog with a broader audience in order to get direct feedback that can help the ongoing work proceed: therefore, we interviewed tourists, gave guided tours and developed a basis for a virtual tour. The preliminary campaign was preceded and followed by workshops in which the project team discussed with a group of international experts the methods of the campaign, and ideas for the future working plan.

The preliminary campaign lasted from September 21st to November 14th 2014. In this period we achieved the following results:

  • Photograpic documentation of the current status of the remains;
  • Mapping of different types of damage, and previous conservation interventions;
  • Mapping of potential dangers for visitors;
  • First analysis of the aboveground and underground water flow;
  • Archive studies to better understand the post-excavation history of the monuments;
  • Geophysical research intended to achieve a better understanding of the archaeological zone and the ground stability;
  • Climate measurements as basis for a preventive conservation measures;
  • Discussion about the construction of protective roofs;
  • Construction of a digital 3D model of the whole necropolis as a basis for a virtual tour;
  • Compilation of a working plan for the complete and sustainable preservation of the necropolis;
  • Formulation of a finance plan for the future campaigns.

The work on site was carried out by two teams: A team from Italy’s National Research Council led by Prof. Daniele Malfitana. Giovanni Fragalá and Danilo Pavone worked on the 3D visualization, a virtual tour, and the future documentation system. Giovanni Leucci and his team conducted a geophysical survey in the whole area of the necropolis.

A team led by Prof. Monica Martelli-Castaldi and Dr. Pia Kastenmeier devoted its attention to documenting the condition of the monuments and their restoration history as a basis for the preparation of a working concept for future conservation interventions. Three students from the Technische Universität München (TUM) and an Italian restorer trainee were also involved in this team, gaining work experience under professional guidance.

Besides these efforts, the PSPP team was active with outreach activities, most notably giving guided tours for such visitors as the Friends of the Glyptothek Munich, the “Pompeji Kurs” of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome, and five school classes from Terzigno. Finally, on November 12th we had the opportunity to present this ongoing work to a team from UNESCO, which was impressed by the project’s methods and results.


The following people were involved in the preliminary campaign (in alphabetical order):

  • Edith Aichinger (photographic documentation, climate measurements; TUM / Fraunhofer IBP)
  • Dott. Samuele Barone (photographic documentation, 3D-modelling and visualization, CNR IBAM)
  • Dr. Annalisa Capurso (coordination of the campaign as representative of the Soprintendenza Speciale dei Beni Archaeologici di Pompei, Ercolano, Stabia)
  • Christina Elsässer (conservation documentation; TUM / Fraunhofer IBP)
  • Prof. Erwin Emmerling (coordination of the conservational documentation, TUM)
  • Clara Friedl (photographic documentation, climate measurements; TUM / Fraunhofer IBP)
  • Dott. Giovanni Fragalà (photographic documentation, 3D-modelling and visualization, CNR IBAM)
  • Dr. Pia Kastenmeier (archaeological documentation and archive work; Fraunhofer IBP)
  • Dr. Ralf Kilian (coordination of the campaign and climate measurements; Fraunhofer IBP)
  • Simone Leitner (conservation documentation)
  • Dott. Giovanni Leucci (geophysics, CNR IBAM)
  • Prof. Dr. Daniele Malfitana (coordination of the work conducted by the CNR IBAM)
  • Prof. Monica Martelli Castaldi (coordination and guidance of the conservation documentation ICCROM / Fraunhofer IBP)
  • Dr. Albrecht Matthaei (coordination of the campaign, Fraunhofer IBP)
  • Dott. Danilo Pavoe (photo documentation, 3D-modelling and visualization, CNR IBAM)
  • Donatella Siani-Leitner (conservation documentation)


A special thanks to the Soprintendenza Speciali dei Beni archaeologici di Pompei, Ercolano, Stabia, and especially to Prof. Massimo Osanna, Dr. Annalisa Capurso, Dr. Grete Stefani and Dr. Stefania Giudice for their dynamic support and excellent collaboration. Last but not least we want to express our gratitude to: Prof. Dr. William van Andringa (Universite Lille 3, France) and his team, who showed us his outstanding excavations in the Porta Nocera Necropolis; Arch. Stefan Giers (Technische Universität München), who enriched the discussion on shelter roofs with drawings and theoretical proposals; Dr. h. c. Jürgen Pursche and Klaus Klarner, who participated as conservation experts in both workshops; Dipl. Ing. Christiane Brasse MSc., who at the second workshop delivered a paper on the latest results from her work on Pompeii's city fortification and especially the Porta Nocera gate.

The first edition of the PSPP International Conservation Academy for young restorers at the necropolis of Porta Nocera.


After its successful beginning in 2014, the POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT (www.pspp-pompeii.org) started its newest campaign in Pompeii on September 7th, 2015. The session began with a two-day meeting covering the work of the project and will continue for

8 weeks until November 4th. Nine restorers (doctoral and advanced master students) from Germany, Italy, Spain and Syria will spend the inaugural Summer Academy of the PSPP restoring and researching while also being trained in the latest restoration techniques for the sustainable conservation of world cultural heritage. Additionally, the participants in the program will attend seminars, take specialized guided tours of Pompeii’s vast archaeological footprint and visit other sites where restoration projects are active. These activities will allow trainees to gain a comprehensive understanding of the broad field of cultural heritage conservation, while also being exposed to the numerous innovative and future-oriented projects currently taking place in the Gulf of Naples.

Together with the Conservation Summer Academy, the PSPP’s work this year will focus on determining how best to move ahead with the installation of protective roofs that experts of the TUM plan to construct over the funerary monuments in the necropolis. These roofs, with their modular system, will require no maintenance work for decades and are anti-seismic. Without the protection these roofs offer, it is impossible to plan any long-term conservation efforts for the monuments. The PSPP intends to install the prototype for the roofs this year, laying crucial groundwork for operations going forward. 

Another important contribution to the sustainable conservation of the necropolis is the digitalization project, started successfully last year by the CNR IBAM, with the creation of a 3D model of a whole area of the necropolis, the prototype of the roof and of other monuments.

Finally, the geophysics lab of CNR IBAM will conduct non-invasive geophysical analyses to determine the state of conservation of wall-structures.

Through its outreach activities, the PSPP emphasizes the importance of restoration and sustainable conservation of world heritage. For the past two years, the PSPP has organized guided tours for groups of different ages and professional organizations to present and discuss conservation work in Pompeii. We also participated actively to the initiative of the Soprintendenza Pompeii (SSPES) called “giornate del patrimonio“ which took place on September 20th , 2015.

We are deeply grateful to those who have made the PSPP’s work possible through their financial support, particularly the Alan and Linde Katritzky Foundation (USA) which we thank. We also thank the American Friends of DAI (http://www.afdai.org/), who provide the administrative assistance that enables us to use 100 % of donated funds for the PSPP’s work in Italy. A special thank also to the Soprintendenza Speciale di Pompei Ercolano e Stabia that hosts and supports the project in every possible way.

Summer Academy 2015

Alumni of the study program of the Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project

Summer Academy 2015

The first international Summer Academy of the Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project started last September 9th, 2015 and ended on November 4th, 2015. Ten students from five different countries and different european universities have participated in the program. The »ex-students« have now the chance to accompany the work of the PSPP in the future within the alumni-network. On this page they express their view on the PSPP as based on their experience in Pompeii. The information completing their names refer to their country of provenance and their work- or study place in 2015.


»An diesem außergewöhnlichen Ort, mit all den herzlichen und motivierten Menschen zu lernen und zu arbeiten, war eine großartige Erfahrung für mich. Besonders die Internationalität der Gruppe brachte Vielfalt, neue Perspektiven und Lebendigkeit in die Diskussionen, die konservatorische Arbeit und in die Nekropole vor der Porta Nocera. Die Zeit in Pompeji Bereich bereicherte mich um wertvolle Erfahrungen im Bereich der konservatorischen Arbeit in einer Weltkulturerbe-Stätte - dies ist im speziellen der Idee des PSPP zu verdanken, die es ermöglicht über alle Schritte, von der Bestandsaufnahme, über Konzeption, bis hin zur Umsetzung der Not Konservierungs-Maßnahme, zu einem konkreten Verständnis der Anforderungen einer Archäologischen Städte zu gelangen. Mit vielen freudigen Erinnerungen im Gepäck sage ich Dankeschön PSPP und Dankeschön an alle Mitstreiter. Es war mir eine große Freude.«

Edith Aichinger (Deutschland, Technische Universität München)


»Durch die Teilnahme an der Sommerakademie konnte ich viele wichtige Erfahrungen sammeln und neue Erkenntnisse erlangen. Dies ist zum einen dem interkulturellen Austausch zu verdanken, dass er immer wieder zu interessanten Diskussionen und neuen Ideen führte, aber auch der Struktur der Sommerakademie. Diese ermöglichte durch Vorträge, Exkursionen und dem Mitwirken bei der Entwicklung und Ausführung des Konservierungs-Konzepts für die Porta Nocera Nekropole, die Erlangung eines ganzheitlichen Verständnisses für die Situation vor Ort, die Problematiken und den Umgang mit einer antiken, archäologischen Stätte. Ich freue mich, dass ich dabei sein konnte, wünsche dem Projekt alles Gute und bin überzeugt, dass es auch in Zukunft erfolgreich weitergehen wird.«

Viola Klein (Deutschland, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart)


»Pompeji ist mir eine Freude, dort zu arbeiten, zu lernen, die Umgebung zu bereisen, zusammen mit engagierten Menschen aus verschiedenen Ländern. Das alles ermöglichte mir das PSPP und ich hoffe, dass es das noch vielen anderen ermöglichen wird. Denn am schönsten und am sinnvollsten für den Erhalt von Pompeji sind das wiederkommen und weitermachen!«

Clara Friedl (Deutschland, Technische Universität München)


»In seguito alla campagna del PSPP mi sento arricchita. La possibilità di lovorare con un gruppo internazionale è molto stimolante perchè si mettono a confronto esperienze, idee, punti di vista, e opprocci diferenti.«

Chiara Marcon (Italien, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland)


»This project is a fresh breeze in Pompeii: nice energy blowing in the old site, in order to try the best to preserve it. Este proyecto es aire fresco para Pompeya: energia positiva dedicada a preservarlo.«

Montserat Lasunción Ascanio (Spanien, Freischaffende Restauratorin – Rom / Lyon / Barcelona) 


»È un gran piacere per me poter salutare e ringraziare nella mia lingua madre tutti coloro che mi hanno dato la possibilità di partecipare al workshop sul restauro della necropoli di porta Nocera a Pompei in Italia che ha avuto luogo dal 09/09/2015 al 04/11/2015, nell’ambito del PSPP “Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Progect” in collaborazione con l’istituto Fraunhofer per la fisica della costruzione.

Il programma a cui ho potuto partecipare in questi ultimi due mesi  era estremamente ricco dal punto di vista degli aspetti tecnico-artistici e mi ha permesso di apprendere nuovi metodi e un nuovo modo di pensare al restauro, a livello spirituale ed educativo. L’atmosfera di lavoro era stimolante, le relazioni umane erano altamente professionali e cordiali all’interno del gruppo internazionale dei partecipanti: italiani, tedeschi ed altri, coordinatori, esperti e studenti.

Penso che un progetto come il PSPP basato su alti principi e profondi valori e diretto da persone di grande esperienza, sapere e d’alta sensibilità non solo verso gli oggetti da sottoporre a restauro, ma anche riguardo al modo di direzione delle risorse umane non poteva che avere successo.

Vorrei ringraziarvi ancora una volta per questa opportunità unica che mi ha permesso di vivere e sperimentare in una città antica come Pompei, augurandovi un continuo successo.«

8 novembre 2015 corrispondente al calendario lunare 26 Muḥarram 1437 H.

Joliana Salloum (Syrien, Università Roma Tre)

»An der PSPP Summer School teilzunehmen war nicht nur auf Grund der kulturellen Wichtigkeit Pompejis ein großartige Erfahrung für mich. Sich mit den komplexen Gegebenheiten einer archäologischen Stätte im Zusammenhang mit einer Konservierungsmaßnahme zu beschäftigen, war eine gute und hilfreiche Übung für jedes weitere restauratorische und konservatorische Denken und Handeln. Auch der Austausch untereinander und mit erfahrenen Restauratoren, genauso aber die interdisziplinäre Zusammenarbeit z. B. mit Archäologen hat mir sehr viel gebracht und Spaß gemacht.«

Karoline Santowski (Deutschland, Technische Hochschule Köln)

»Johann Wolfgang von Goethes Aussage über Pompeji (1787): ›Es ist viel Unheil in der Welt geschehen, aber wenig, das den Nachkommen so viel Freude gemacht hätte‹, hat bis heute seine Gültigkeit behalten. Die anhaltende Attraktivität der antiken Stadt mag auch daran liegen, das es den Traum derjenigen erfüllt, welche die Stadt wieder beleben wollen. Um die Stadt auch als solche wahrnehmen zu können, erfordert sie nach Kevin Lynch, ein wieder erkennbare Form und eine räumliche Struktur, aus der die Lage von Objekt und Betrachter unverkennbar hervorgeht und so ein emotionales Image schafft (identity 7 structure / meaning). Das PSPP-Projekt versucht genau hier neue Ansätze zu finden und bietet dabei eine Plattform für die jungen Generationen.«

Christian Kaiser (Italien, Technische Universität München)


»There are several important reasons why it was such an excellent experience to participate in the Porta Nocera campaign. It was interesting to work with students and experts from different countries, different backgrounds. While working on the tombs we continuously discussed the work and exchanged various opinions on the materials used and the methods applied. Apart from gaining some new knowledge, I was also able to compare all that to the usual Croatian practices and the level of education of restauration students in my country. Since this was my first opportunity to work at a site where emergency protection measures were needed (with vast damage and alarming need for consolidation), it was a very valuable experience for me to focus attention on the choice of priorities and the way to achieve optimal protection within the given frame. No matter the level of endangerement of a given object, this kind of thinking is necessary when dealing with any structure since ideal conditions are very rare in practice and we always have to analyse and weigh cost and benefit. After working on Porta Nocera necropolis I am therefore inspired to explain to Croatian students the difference between ideal approach and the whole series of problems we encounter in practical work and to give them guidelines for achieving optimal results in non-ideal conditions present in real situations. And finally, I benefited from being introduced to some new materials (foam mortar, for example), from the presentations of students, campaign organizers and other experts in the last two days of the campaign. I am glad I was given the opportunity to participate in the campaign since I met people who passionately love what they do. I think that this campaign and the effort of its organizers and all the participants greatly contribute to the advancement of conservation and it represents a praiseworthy approach to the protection of the cultural heritage of the world.«

doc.mr.art. Neva Pološki, Odsjek za konzerviranje i restauriranje umjetnina Akademija likovnih umjetnosti, Zagreb, Hrvatska

About us > Consortium

Who we are

The POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT is a joint initiative of leading research institutions in Europe:

  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
  • Technische Universität of Munich
  • Soprintendenza Speciale Pompei
  • International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Propertyn ICCROM
  • Istituto per i Beni Archeologici e Monumentali del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche CNR
  • School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford
  • Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali ISCR
  • Department for Ancient History of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich
  • German Archaeological Institute in Rome
  • Università di Pisa

Our team is organized as a German research initiative and is located at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics. It can therefore capitalize on the long experience of the Fraunhofer in administering international collaborations.

The scientific direction of the PSPP is managed by an international committee of experts from the participating institutions and their supporters. The executive board is constituted by:

  • Prof. Dr. Massimo Osanna (Director General, Soprintendenza Pompei)
  • Prof. Dr. Klaus Peter Sedlbauer (Fraunhofer-Institut für Bauphysik)
  • Prof. Erwin Emmerling (Lehrstuhl für Restaurierung,Technische Universität München)
  • Prof. Dr. Stefano de Caro (Director General, ICCROM)
  • Prof. Dr. Daniele Malfitana (Istituto per i Beni Archeologici e Monumentali des CNR)

Just as Giuseppe Fiorelli’s excavations in Pompeii in the 19th century became a model for archeological excavations all over the Mediterranean, with the POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT will ensure that Pompeii will again play a central role in the international discussion on heritage site preservation and appropriate, sustainable public access to the world‘s most fragile monuments.

What we do

The POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT’s goal is to protect unique monuments and, in doing so, develop new skills. The project brings together high-quality restoration of finds from Pompeii with leading research in the humanities and sciences and the training of young researchers.

Knowledge and experience stemming from theoretical and applied research are united in the POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT to reach the following goals:

  • Implementation of innovative methods for sustainable conservation in order to prevent further damage
  • Training of conservators and researchers as a substantial contribution to future preservation of international world heritage
  • Development and adaptation of materials, strategies and methods that can enhance efficient and durable restoration in other ancient sites beyond Pompeii
  • Hands-on restoration and long-term preservation of building complexes in Pompeii
  • Documentation of the buildings and their construction history with the newest archaeological and historical building surveying methods
  • Use of botanical research for the greening of the ancient gardens that is ecologically authentic
  • Establishment of Pompeii as a center of excellence for research on durable and sustainable conservation of ancient architecture
  • Broad communication of our work and results through online and traditional printed media
  • Outreach to increase awareness for the preservation of the world heritage and its value for the present and the future

How we work

The POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT follows a holistic approach: a restoration that is historically accurate and appropriate to the city must take into account each and every finding, from the most vivid wall painting to the smallest preserved wall. The documentation and conservation work goes side by side with scientific research, of which the results will be integrated into the ongoing working process.

In tight collaboration and continuous discussions with the restorers in the other sites around the bay of Naples (Capri, Sorrent, Stabia, Herculanueum, Oplontis, Naples, Baiae, Cumae, Puteoli, and others) we will use the advantage of Pompeii‘s proximity and create synergies that help the whole area. Parallel to documentation and conservation, we will run yearly summer academies for young restorers and archaeologists. The course schedule includes theoretical seminars as well as the teaching of history and archaeology of the region, ancient building techniques, history of conservation, contemporary conservation methods and theory. It includes also a practical curriculum, which permits the participants of the course to be trained in the ongoing restoration work. In the framework of our teaching program we will also frequently invite school kids to visit our work site and to discuss with archaeologists and conservators the meaning of the monuments and their conservation.

Moreover, through its long-term presence in Pompeii, the POMPEII  SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT will create the necessary infrastructure that can serve as a basis for additional research projects. We plan to share our results with experts and the general public through  international meetings, workshops and publications.

Mission and Vision


Prof. Dr. Francesco Bandarin, Former Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Center and Assistant Director-General for Culture

Dr. Dr h.c. mult. Hans Ulrich Seidt, ehem. Leiter der Abteilung für Kultur und Kommunikation des Auswärtigen Amts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Prof. E.h. Dr.-Ing. E.h. mult. Dr. h.c. Reimund Neugebauer, Präsident der Fraunhofer Gesellschaft

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, Präsident der Technischen Universität München

Pompeii, with all its ancient buildings and the setting of a completely preserved ancient city revealing all aspects of everyday life, is unique. This is a tremendous wealth for us who want to glimpse how Roman cities worked. Moreover, every visitor can experience this city walking through Roman streets, looking at shops, entering houses, exploring the way people lived and enjoying the pieces of art and fresco paintings that have survived the last 2000 years under the ashes from the eruption of mount Vesuvius. The effects of the changing climate, however, threaten them just like the mass-tourism and constantly advancing decay of walls and surfaces from wind and weather. This combination of threats and recent events make Pompeii the perfect laboratory showcase for the application of new directions in research. This endeavor must focus on new and long-lasting methods of conservation and sustainable forms of tourisms to preserve the Heritage of our World for the future generations. The outlined project, which combines a multidisciplinary approach in research with training and practical conservation, is a step in the right direction and has the potential to set new standards on how to operate in the field of long-term preventive conservation of archeological sites worldwide. 

Prof. Dr. Francesco Bandarin, Former Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Center and Assistant Director-General for Culture

The ancient city of Pompeii is not only a world famous cultural monument, it also exemplifies a long and fine tradition of German-Italian cooperation. As Head of the Directorate General for Culture and Communication in the Federal Foreign Office, I greatly welcome the initiative presented here by German and Italian research institutions. It will help us to preserve universal values for generations to come.

Dr. Dr h.c. mult. Hans Ulrich Seidt, ehem. Leiter der Abteilung für Kultur und Kommunikation des Auswärtigen Amts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

It is imperative that we preserve the cultural heritage of Pompeii for future generations. Thanks to its long experience in applied research using innovative methods and technologies, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will contribute substantially to this crucial project. As a member of the Forschungsallianz Kulturerbe, which has been founded by the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation), the Leibniz Association and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Fraunhofer can build upon considerable scientific and technical expertise as well as competence in the arts and in cultural matters. I am delighted that with this project we can strengthen the already existing close co-operation between Germany and Italy and at the same time give young scientists some new, sustainable perspectives for their research and careers.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Prof. E.h. Dr.-Ing. E.h. mult. Dr. h.c. Reimund Neugebauer, Präsident der Fraunhofer Gesellschaft

Few other archaeological sites epitomize both great culture and a tragic end like Pompeii. It exemplifies Roman culture in its finest expressions and the city’s influence on the later cultures of the 18th and 19th centuries is known around the world. One of the many examples of this is King Ludwig I’s Pompejanum, a scale copy of the House of Castor and Pollux, which was built in Aschaffenburg in the 1840s.

Generations of archaeologists have, with great effort, uncovered significant portions of the ancient city and now it falls to archaeologists, architects, historians of architecture and restorers of both the present and the future to preserve it for future generations. Such an enormous site poses enormous challenges and problems. I am very pleased that the Technische Universität of Munich is participating in the rescuing of Pompeii with the POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT. I am confident that the combined knowledge and skills of our institution and staff will lead the way in an effective conservation and restoration of the site. I anticipate that the project will be very successful and I enthusiastically support their efforts.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, Präsident der Technischen Universität München



S. Em. Rev. ma Gianfranco Cardinale Ravasi, Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio della Cultura

« "Domenica andammo a Pompei. Molte sciagure sono accadute nel mondo, ma poche hanno procurato altrettanta gioia alla posterità" (Viaggio in Italia, 1787). Parafrasando Goethe, si potrebbe affermare che una nuova sciagura si stia abbattendo sul sito di Pompei. Abbiamo infatti ancora vive negli occhi le impressionanti immagini di alcuni disastrosi crolli appena due anni fa. Se infatti le ceneri del Vesuvio nel 79 d.C. portarono la morte, ma lasciarono straordinariamente intatte le strutture architettoniche, opere d'arte e oggetti di uso comune, dalla riscoperta del sito nel XVIII secolo fino ad oggi insidiosi agenti naturali, la costante usura dei flussi turistici e l'indifferenza delle istituzioni civili e delle stesse comunità locali e nazionali sono la causa di un degrado lento, inesorabile e potenzialmente irreversibile. Salutiamo quindi con gratitudine e speranza l'iniziativa dei giovani studiosi promotori del Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project, volto al ricupero integrale di una delle necropoli della città, mediante la messa a punto di apposite metodologie e con l'intenzione di costituire un laboratorio di formazione per giovani leve nel campo del restauro. L'iniziativa, partendo da un'università tedesca, rinnova la tradizione dell'amore di quella nazione per il patrimonio culturale italiano, in accordo e in sinergia con le istituzioni e gli istituti di ricerca italiani. Auspichiamo infine che i privati che hanno la possibilità di mettere a disposizione mezzi economici lo facciano con generosità, affinchè l'umanità possa continuare a gioire di questo suo tesoro, come già i nostri antenati. »

Prof. Dr. Salvatore Settis, Accademico dei Lincei, della Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, della Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, dell’Institut de France, della American Philosophical Society 

« La convergenza di ricerca sul campo, strategie conservative e formazione dei giovani dà a questo progetto uno statuto particolarmente alto e consapevole. Nessun luogo quanto Pompei si presta a una alta sperimentazione, che possa poi servire di modello-pilota per l’archeologia classica (e non solo). La straordinaria attenzione mediatica che si è concentrata sui problemi conservativi di Pompei negli ultimi anni e la possibilità di aggiungere i fondi di questo progetto a quelli dell’Unione Europea e del governo italiano potrà consentire sinergie preziose e irripetibili confronti di metodo. Contribuire a rilanciare la ricerca, la tutela e la conservazione di Pompei: il Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project può essere un agente essenziale della rinascita di Pompei che si può prevedere nei prossimi anni. »

Dr. Matteo Pardo, Wissenschaftlicher Attaché an der Italienischen Botschaft in Berlin 

« Questo progetto unisce due diversi piani di cooperazione. Innanzitutto un piano transnazionale, principalmente fra Italia e Germania, che è mio compito d’ufficio sostenere. Più importante, e necessaria, ritengo sia però la collaborazione interdisciplinare – più ancora: interculturale – fra discipline scientifico-tecniche e discipline umanistiche. Mi auguro e credo che il beneficio di queste cooperazioni, di lungo periodo, comprendenti una parte significativa di formazione, potrebbe estendersi oltre Pompei. »

Prof. Dr. Gesine Schwan, Präsidentin der HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance 

»Bildung, die in der geistigen Konfrontation mit historischen und kulturübergreifenden Erfahrungen Urteilsfähigkeit stärkt, und disziplinüberschreitende Kommunikation sind wichtige Grundlagen für die Zukunft Europas. In diesem Sinne hat das hier vorgestellte Projekt, das Denkmalschutz, Ausbildung und Forschung vereint, wegweisenden Charakter. Das Pompeji Sustainable Preservation Project verdient eine breite Unterstützung!«

Prof. Dr. Stefano De Caro, Director-General, International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property 

« La formazione di giovani conservatori e restauratori è una delle più importanti garanzie per il futuro della tutela dei monumenti antichi. Questo progetto, che unisce un approccio interdisciplinare ed internazionale ad una formazione sul campo, si muove certamente nella giusta direzione. Il contributo che esso offre attraverso lo sviluppo di capacità e competenze è inoltre di lunga durata ed anche questo è un importante elemento per il futuro della conservazione dei beni culturali. »

Arch. Gisella Capponi, Direttrice dell‘Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro (ISCR) del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali 

« Gli aspetti relativi alla definizione dei piani di conservazione programmata, alla formazione e alla sperimentazione di metodologie per la conservazione delle superfici dell’architettura del PSPP rivestono per noi dell’ISCR particolare interesse. In questi campi il nostro Istituto ha maturato negli anni esperienze in Italia e all’estero che saremmo interessati a poter condividere con i partecipanti all’iniziativa. »

Prof. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill OBE FBA, Herculaneum Conservation Project and Director of Research, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge 

“Never has Pompeii been more desperately in need of conservation than at the present! Conservation problems are numerous and complex, and resolving them requires more than the mechanical application of known methodologies. Experiment and scientific testing remain fundamental, and for that reason too, in our experience, a major conservation project can add much to our scientific and archaeological knowledge. I wish you all success in your initiative.”

Prof. Dr. Henner von Hesberg, Direktor des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts in Rom 

»Wer im Abstand von wenigen Jahren die Stadt besucht hat, wird mit Schrecken feststellen, dass ganze Wände antiker Malerei heute kaum mehr zu erkennen sind und ihre Wirkung verloren haben. Hier muss etwas geschehen! Jetzt ist unbedingt eine Konservierung erforderlich, die den noch vorhandenen Bestand besser schützt und für die Zukunft erhält. Die Abteilung Rom des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts unterstützt deshalb nachdrücklich diese Initiative.«

Prof. Heather A. Viles, Professor of Biogeomorphology and Heritage Conservation, University of Oxford 

“The vast and complex ruined site at Pompeii presents a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of the causes and rates of deterioration of stonework and plaster. As a result, and building on expertise gained from the study of many other monuments, we will be able to develop novel and sustainable conservation strategies which will help preserve the monuments for years to come. Understanding the combination of factors which are causing deterioration in different parts of Pompeii, and working with (rather than against) natural processes are the foundations of our approach.”

Prof. Dr. Daniele Malfitana, Direttore dell’Istituto per i Beni Archeologici e Monumentali, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche e docente di Archeologia, Università di Catania 

« Pompei rappresenta una palestra straordinaria per chi opera nel settore della ricerca finalizzata allo sviluppo di metodologie e tecniche per il recupero e la conservazione del patrimonio archeologico e monumentale. Produrre conoscenza e ricerca, sperimentare azioni applicative per la conservazione della città antica, formare nuove competenze sono tre obiettivi strategici per il successo di un progetto quale il PSPP. Pompei rappresenta anche il contesto ideale per un dialogo tra scuole diverse perché è attraverso il dialogo ed il confronto, anche metodologico, che si raggiunge eccellenza di risultati. »

Prof. Dr. Klaus Sedlbauer, Leiter des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Bauphysik IBP 

»Durch die einzigartige Verbindung von Natur- und Geisteswissenschaften im Rahmen des PSPP werden alle beteiligten Fachrichtungen voneinander profitieren. Der Gedanke, Pompeji als Arbeitsfeld für bauphysikalische Forschung zu etablieren, ist ebenso außergewöhnlich wie vielversprechend!«

Prof. Erwin Emmerling, Ordinarius für Restaurierung, Kunsttechnologie und Konservierungswissenschaft der Technischen Universität München

»Seit Beginn der Ausgrabungen in Pompeji wird in der Stadt restauriert! Kein anderer Ort der europäischen Vergangenheit spiegelt in so dichter Form auch die Geschichte europäischer Restaurierungsmethoden wieder. Allein deswegen ist Pompeji der ideale Ort für ein (Ausbildungs-)Zentrum der Restaurierungswissenschaften!«

Prof. Dr. Massimo Osanna, Soprintendente, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Pompei, Ercolano, Stabia

« La Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Pompei, Ercolano, Stabia ha recentemente intrapreso un piano ambizioso di conoscenza e conservazione del sito archeologico di Pompei, dei suoi edifici e manufatti. Il Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project condivide gli obiettivi di questo impegno, al quale contribuisce con una preziosa opera di ricerca e formazione. Proprio da uno studio capillare dei monumenti e dalla formazione sul campo di restauratori ed archeologi deve ripartire il lavoro a Pompei, in un‘ottica di collaborazione e dialogo tra istituzioni e discipline. »


Who we are looking for

The POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT was conceived as a project based on fundraising. Support from individuals, foundations and corporate sponsors will allow us to invest the funds directly into research and conservation of the remains.

The ten-year project will require 10 million Euros in order to carry out the superior quality research and conservation that is essential to such an endeavor. Funds will underwrite the costs of highly qualified personnel for the duration of the project, fellowships, guest researchers, the purchase of construction materials, research, and financing the publication of our results. In the first phase of the project, the tomb monuments of the Porta Nocera necropolis will be documented and restored with leading edge methods. In a preliminary campaign financed by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in fall 2014, we have set the basis for the future campaigns. Therefore, a collaboration with a sponsor that starts in 2015 or after can build on existing infrastructure.

This first phase of work in the necropolis will last five years and will cost 6 million Euros. We are looking for sponsors who believe in the mission and vision of the project and also appreciate its three pillars – preservation of world heritage, training, and cutting edge research. Together we can contribute to the rescue of this site, which is central to Western culture; at the same time, we will ensure that the preservation of monuments serves as an opportunity for the transfer of knowledge and skill and develops research practice.


Make a gift to PSPP:

help us support research, education and the conservation of our cultural heritage!

Your generosity will help us continue our work. Your donations will enable progress in research, in the development of methods, materials and processes for long-lasting interventions to preserve ancient sites, and in the transmission of knowledge to educate promising young scholars and restorers. The work we have started in the first phase of the project in the Necropolis of Porta Nocera has been extremely productive. Each of you can help us move forward!

Gifts may be sent to our account

IBAN: DE86 7007 0010 0752 1933 00
Deutsche Bank, München
Marked as “Donation for the PSPP, 003-320285“.

For questions or more information, please contact us at donations@pompeii-pspp.org

We are deeply grateful to all friends and partners who have supported the PSPP

  • Alan and Linde Katrizky Foundation
  • Lukas Heinemann
  • Kristin Oswald
  • Katharina Lara Claudia Franz
  • World of Wonders
  • Universtity of Pennsylvania Museum
  • Dr. Johanna Leissner
  • Prof. William Van Andringa

Since April 2015 the project has received 93.700 € in generous donations.

A special thank you goes to the American Friends of the German Archeological Institute and the German Archaeological Institute who have supported us in our American fundraising campaign.



International appearances

Presentation of the project at the following events:

  • February 19, 2016, 10:30: "Pompeii – Protection and Conservation of the Archeological World Heritage“
    Symposium at the Technische Universität München, Vorhölzer Forum, Arcisstr. 21, Munich
    Press Conference 10:30 a.m.
    Follow-up to the event

  • June 3, 2015, 10:30: "Pompei. Progetti in corso e prospettive",  Dr. Massimo Osanna, Soprintende di Pompei, Gispoteca di Arte Antica, Pisa.
  • June 3, 2015, 10:30: "Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Projekt", Dr. Albrecht Matthaei, Fraunhofer IBP, Dr. Anna Anguissola, LMU München, Gispoteca di Arte Antica, Pisa.
  • January 9, 2015: "Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project: The First Campaing at the Nocera Gate Necropolis", Dr. Albrecht Matthaei, Fraunhofer IBP, Dr. Anna Anguissola, LMU München, und Dr. Ralf Kilian, Fraunhofer IBP,
    2015 AIA/SCS Joint Annual Meeting, Januar7 08th to 11th, 2015, New Orleans, USA

  • January 2-5, 2014: Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America

  • March 28-30, 2014: Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (TRAC)
  • May 7-9, 2014: 2nd International Conference on Protection of Historical Constructions

The Symposium “Pompeii – Protection and Conservation of the Archeological World Heritage”

The Symposium “Pompeii – Protection and Conservation of the Archeological World Heritage” took place at the Technical University of Munich on February 19th, 2016. The event has been organized by the Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project, the Italian Institute of Culture of Munich, the Cultural Association “Phoenix Pompeji”, and the Forum Italia e.V. under the auspices of the General Consul of the Italian Republic, Renato Cianfarani. Here we would like to thank again all participants, organizers, and speakers.

The successful event in Munich was well-attended and widely reported upon in the press, and the underlying theme was: “Preserving the past is an investment in the future.” Although in recent years the number of the visitors to the excavations and the exhibitions devoted to the ancient cities on the slopes of Mt Vesuvius has steadily grown, Pompeii and Herculaneum have been long considered difficult cases in the field of World Heritage conservation. But in these difficult times, far from the public eye in Germany, new positive developments are taking place in the Gulf of Naples, relying on the great potential of this unique World Heritage for developing science and technology.

Numerous national and international initiatives in restoration have been started under the leadership of the Soprintendenza Pompeii prompting this change of direction. These initiatives work, not only towards the achievement of a sustainable preservation of the ancient sites in the Vesuvian region, but also take advantage of the enormous potential that these site have for the development of conservation sciences. Thus Pompeii and Herculaneum will become a forum for transdisciplinary exchange between restorers, classicists, and representatives of many other disciplines. New methods of digital data acquisition and documentation, as well as the development of sustainable protective roofs, increase the number of scientific disciplines that contribute to the preservation of ancient sites and now foster the possibilities of advancing the techniques and methods that are needed worldwide for conserving our cultural heritage.

At the Munich event, the directors of the Grande Progetto Pompei of the Herculaneum Project and of the Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project were together on stage to explain to the public here in Germany the actual developments of the conservation works in the area of the Gulf on Naples. 

The General Director of the Soprintendenza Pompei, Prof. Dr. Massimo Osanna, has presented the efforts and progress of the Grande Progetto Pompei (GPP) (http://www.pompeiisites.org/Sezione.jsp?idSezione=354). The project carries our essential work for the collection and store of data on the conservation of the ancient site. This will allow setting up a complete database that can make conservation interventions easier to plan and actually happen. At the same time, restoration projects are underway, plans for security and improvements of guided tours have been formulated, and the digital archive has been made available for the first time. 

Prof. Stefano de Caro, director of ICCROM (http://www.iccrom.org/), one of the institutions belonging to the UNESCO that works in the field of cultural conservation worldwide and also for the training and continuing education in these fields, spoke about the history of the excavations and conservation interventions in Pompeii from the beginning until today. The conservation efforts in Pompeii in the past 250 years have been constantly characterized by alternating phases of engagement-euphoria and inactivity. At the same time, every intervention in this ancient site, if properly set in its historical context and time, becomes an important historical source for contemporary researchers in restoration sciences. De Caro stressed that the GPP is the first complex restoration initiative for the restoration and preservation of Pompeii that is not only an initiative of the Italian State, but is taking place on a European level. The numerous other international interventions in Pompeii that are currently underway are, also, a sign of a increased interest and engagement in conservation and attitude towards ancient sites.

Prof. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill presented the work of the Herculaneum Conservation Project (http://www.herculaneum.org/hcp-home/). The talk focused on three main aspects: (1) conservation and archeology must proceed alongside as efforts in conservation can make further archeological investigations necessary. This he showed very well by discussing the example of the draining of the foundations of the city. (2) Water is the main problem and its diversion the biggest challenge for all ancient sites by Mt Vesuvius. (3) Projects in sites like Herculaneum can only take place in constant dialogue with the local communities.

The Herculaneum Conservation Project has been financed by the Packard Humanities Foundation for fifteen years now for over 10 Million Euros and is the model for the Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project.

Dr Ralf Kilian closed the afternoon by talking about the progress made by the PSPP in the last 4 years. The project can look back at a very successful 2015 among other things, because of the activation of the first international Summer Academy for Restoration in ancient cities that took place in the necropolis of Porta Nocera. There were 10 young restorers from 5 different countries who participated in it, and their work included the assessment of conservation risks in a part of the site, the plan and setting the priorities for emergency interventions, test of materials, preparation of the work site, and also actual conservation work and its documentation. Moreover, Kilian has illustrated the work of the Technical University of Munich that has developed the prototype for protective roofs that should be installed in the necropolis in 2016. In order to build more protective roofs, the PSPP collaborates with the cultural association Phoenix Pompeji that has also contributed to the organization of the event. Finally, Kilian has reported on the progress of the work by the CNR-IBAM on the digital documentation which was explained in a 6-minute long film, and it can be retrieved through the homepage of the PSPP as well.

The final Podium discussion focused on the role of Pompeii as basis and impulse-center for new restoration activities in times of crisis. The centrality of international initiatives and attention was again noted along with the importance of outreach and informing the public, which was one of the goals of the symposium. The participants agreed that the topic of the conservation of cultural heritage as a non-renewable cultural resource should be more present in the public debate; here Pompeii and Herculaneum could assume the role of examples with their long tradition and famous marks in the European cultural history.




Director of the Project

Prof. Dr. Ralf Kilian
Phone +49 8024 643-285

Project Coordination
Sara Saba, PhD
Phone +49 8024 643-0

Scientific advisory council

Dr. Anna Anguissola

Scientific advisory council

Dr. Albrecht Matthaei


Dipl.-Journ. Assja Terseglav
Phone +49 8024 643-642

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