The present volume is the first of three which will together provide an in-depth analysis of one city block at Pompeii: the so-called Insula del Menandro (Insula of the Menander) (Pompeii I 10). It will concentrate on the architecture and structural history of the insula, while the second and third volumes will deal respectively with interior decoration and with loose finds. Each will be used, in its different way, to shed light on the social history of the insula and of Pompeii in general. Behind this publication lies a long-term programme of recording and documentation going back to the 1970s, the primary objective of which has been the production of an archive, consisting primarily of drawings at 1:5 of the surviving wall-paintings, and plans, sections, and elevations at 1:50 of the visible architecture. These are supplemented by photographs in black and white and in colour, and by drawings of selected pavements and certain architectural details at 1:10. In addition there are pro forma sheets providing a detailed record, room by room, of all architectural and decorative features. Copies of this archive will ultimately be deposited in the Archaeological Superintendency at Pompeii, in the British School at Rome, and in the University of Manchester. This project, carried out by a team from Britain, fits in with the general policy of the Pompeian authorities since the late 1970s to improve the documentation of the site. There have been a number of programmes of recording during this period, most importantly a series of photographic campaigns mounted by the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione to record the surviving paintings and pavements and, more recently, a massive computerization project called Neapolis which has Involved specialists in various disciplines (archaeology, cartography, architecture, art history, and anthropology) and has aimed to produce an electronic archive permitting access to almost any piece of information, visual or written, about the city. The Importance of recording, in whatever form, is all too apparent. Despite the best efforts of the local authorities, the fabric of the city is steadily deteriorating: weathering, plant infestation, vandalism, and theft all take their toll.
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