Speleologists study tunnels beneath subsoil of Pompeii

Speleologists from the Cocceius Association have been working in collaboration with the Archaeological Park of Pompeii to study over 450 metres of the city’s rainwater drainage system and subterranean canals, starting from the Civil Forum.

Pompeii was a Roman city, located in the modern commune of Pompeii near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area was buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

Image Credit :

Largely preserved under the ash, the excavated city offered a unique snapshot of Roman life, frozen at the moment it was buried and remains a detailed insight into the everyday life of its inhabitants.

The study provides new information regarding the evolution of the area between the Civil Forum and Porta Marina, as well as identifying areas of the subterranean system at risk in need of restoration, whilst respecting the archaeological value of the ancient work.

- Advertisement -

A network of tunnels and canals has been identified which branches out from a pair of cisterns below the Forum, running under Via Marina and ending near the Imperial Villa. The system allowed excess rainwater in the Via Marina channel to be drained out of the ancient city towards the sea.

Image Credit :

It has also been possible to identify the historical context of the underground system into three main phases of construction; an initial Hellenistic phase (late 3rd-2nd century BC); a second in the late Republican age (early/late 1st century BC) and a third phase corresponding to the Augustan and Imperial age (late 1st century BC – 79 AD).

Director General Massimo Osan said:

“The project of exploring these tunnels forms part of the activities of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii that aim to broaden our understanding of the site, which is the essential basis of any monitoring or safeguarding intervention”

“This initial exploration of the complex system of underground canals confirms the cognitive potential which the Pompeian subsoil preserves, and demonstrates how much still remains to be investigated and studied.”

Header Image Credit :

- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is an award winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education and the BCA Medal of Honour.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

Baboons in Ancient Egypt were raised in captivity before being mummified

In a new study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, researchers examined a collection of baboon mummies from the ancient Egyptian site of Gabbanat el-Qurud, the so-called Valley of the Monkeys on the west bank of Luxor.

Archaeologists find 22 mummified burials in Peru

A Polish-Peruvian team of archaeologists have uncovered 22 mummified burials in Barranca, Peru.

Oldest prehistoric fortress found in remote Siberia

An international team, led by archaeologists from Freie Universität Berlin has uncovered an ancient prehistoric fortress in a remote region of Siberia known as Amnya.

Top 10 archaeological discoveries of 2023

The field of archaeology has been continuously evolving in 2023, making significant strides in uncovering new historical findings, preserving cultural heritage, and employing innovative technologies to study the past.

War in Ukraine sees destruction of cultural heritage not witnessed since WW2

The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 has resulted in a significant loss of human lives and the national and international displacement of many Ukrainian people.

Archaeologists find five Bronze Age axes in the forests of Kociewie

According to an announcement by the Pomeranian Provincial Conservator of Monuments, archaeologists have discovered five Bronze Age axes in Starogard Forest District, located in Kociewie, Poland.

Origins of English Christmas traditions

Christmas embodies a tapestry of ritual traditions and customs shared by many countries and cultures. Some hearken back to ancient times, while others represent more recent innovations.

Mosaic depicting lions found at ancient Prusias ad Hypium

Archaeologists have uncovered a mosaic depicting lions during excavations at ancient Prusias ad Hypium, located in modern-day Konuralp, Turkey.