Our UTokyo Excavation project brings ancient life to light.

Message from the Project Leader

The Roman Empire was a unified territorial state that emerged in the Mediterranean world and beyond. During the expansion of the Empire, Mount Vesuvius made a massive volcanic eruption in 79 AD, which is famous for having buried the ancient Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. While the areas including the two towns have been heavily excavated and studied since the 18th Century, the northern side of the Vesuvius affected by the same 79 AD eruption was out of the scope of major archaeological investigation for a long time, until the UTokyo Excavation project began in Somma Vesuviana in 2002. 

According to Roman writers Tacitus and Suetonius, the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, died in a building on the northern slope of Mount Vesuvius in the area of Nola in 14 AD. While the building was supposed to be later converted into a temple dedicated to Augustus, its existence has not been confirmed to date.

Recent excavation by the UTokyo team in Somma Vesuviana, near Nola, has revealed parts of a building buried by the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This is the first evidence of a building supposedly from the same period as Augustus, found in the archaeological site under investigation of the UTokyo Excavation project.

We wish to continue and expand the excavation to achieve the project goal, which is ascertain whether the site is indeed the place where the first Roman Emperor Augustus passed away, and also to reconstruct the long-term recovery process of the areas affected by Mount Vesuvius eruptions.

We need your support to make a significant contribution to human history. Join us now!

Location of Somma Vesuviana (Maps Data: Google, ©Data SIO,
NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Landsat / Copernicus, Airbus)

Somma Vesuviana and the UTokyo Excavation project


Mariko Muramatsu
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
The University of Tokyo


How your donations will be used

Your donations will support the excavation, research, education, restoration, and conservation activities of the UTokyo team in Somma Vesuviana. 

◆Support for the excavation and restoration work

Expansion of the excavation 
Improvement of the shelter protecting the archaeological site
Analysis of excavated objects
Restoration and conservation of discovered materials

◆ Support for the development of creative research

Experimental combination of different research methods
Pioneering the new research subject ‘disaster archaeology’
Recovery of well-preserved artefacts 
Analysis of excavated organic materials

◆ Support for education and outreach activities

Student participation in the excavation 
Organisation of international symposia and events

Project Leader

Mariko Muramatsu
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
The University of Tokyo

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