The Society is proud to announce the success of its support for the restoration and enhancement of the Custodian's Room in the shrine of the Collegium of Augustales.
The Collegium has a small room in one corner. In it there is a bed, and on the bed the skeleton of a young man of about 20 was discovered by Amedeo Maiuri in 1961. Dubbed 'the custodian', he is one of the few victims of the eruption known before the excavations of the 1980s. As reported in Herculaneum Archaeology 25 this is the man whose brain matter was turned to glass by the eruption. The room has been closed to the public for many years. The project involves bioarchaeological investigation of the remains, restoration of the room, and development of aids for visitors including an ‘augmented reality’ experience of the ancient building, its furnishings and decorations (using 3D visors). Perfect replicas of the skeleton and bed will be made with microscopic scanning and 3D printing, and the face of the custodian will be reconstructed using modern forensic techniques. A short documentary film in Italian and English will record the progress of the project and explain the research to the public. Apart from creating a great visitor experience, this research will enable many exciting discoveries about ancient life.
The overall cost of the project is approximately €180,000 which will be met by a combination of donations from the Friends of Herculaneum and Italian government funds under their ArtBonus scheme. The work will be carried out by the world-class archaeologists and scientists at the Archaeological Park of Herculaneum.
Thanks to the generosity of our members who donated over €62,000, the application to ArtBonus for the balance of the funds has been successful. Work is about to begin (October 2023)!