Buried by Vesuvius: The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum

Buried by Vesuvius: The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum

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Edited by Kenneth Lapatin

The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum, the model for the Getty Villa in Malibu, is one of the world’s earliest systematically investigated archaeological sites. Buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, the Villa dei Papiri was discovered in 1750 and excavated under the auspices of the Neapolitan court. Never fully unearthed, the site yielded spectacular colored marble floors and mosaics, frescoed walls, the largest known ancient collection of bronze and marble statuary, intricately carved ivories, and antiquity’s only surviving library, with more than a thousand charred papyrus scrolls. For more than two and a half centuries, the Villa dei Papiri and its contents have served as a wellspring of knowledge for archaeological science, art history, classics, papyrology, and philosophy.

Buried by Vesuvius offers a sweeping yet in-depth view of all aspects of the site. Presenting the latest research, the essays in this authoritative and richly illustrated volume reveal the story of the Villa dei Papiri’s ancient inhabitants and modern explorers, providing readers with a multidimensional understanding of this fascinating site.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa June 26 to October 28, 2019.


  • Hardcover: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Getty Publications (2019)
  • Dimensions: 9" x 11"
  • 276 color and 16 b/w illustrations & 1 gatefold map
  • ISBN 978-1-60606-592-1