Stabiae - Archaeological Ruins - History

History

The archaeological remains of Stabiae were originally discovered in 1749 by Cavaliere Rocco de Alcubierre, an engineer working for king Charles VII of Naples. These ruins were partially excavated by Alcubierre with help from Karl Weber between 1749–1782. The ruins that had been excavated, however, were reburied and their location was forgotten until 1950, when a high school principal rediscovered them. The site was declared an archaeological protected area in 1957, and by 1962 many of the ruins had been again uncovered. The remains of both an Oscan settlement (oppidum) and the later Roman town were discovered.

The most famous of the findings at Stabiae are the villas that come from the time between the destruction of Stabiae by Sulla in 89 BC and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. As described above, Stabiae became a resort town during this time and was particularly favored for its view of the Bay of Naples and the surrounding mountains. Stabiae was also well known for the quality of its spring water, which was believed to have medicinal properties. The ideal placement and qualities of this location drew many wealthy Romans to build luxurious villas on the ridge overlooking the bay. These villas, which are described below, provide us with some of the most stunning architectural and artistic remains from Roman villas. 2004 saw an Italian-American collaboration between the Superintendency of Archaeology of Pompeii, the region of Campania and the University of Maryland to form the non-profit Archaeological entity, the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation (RAS). It is the RAS Foundation's prime goal to excavate, restore and build an archaeological park at the ancient site of Stabiae, a complex of seven or eight Roman villas according to recent geophysical surveys conducted by the University of Birmingham.

A great many artifacts which come from Stabiae are preserved in the Naples National Archaeological Museum.

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