Ancient Structures and Modern Analysis:
Investigating Damage and Reconstruction at Pompeii

Kirk Martini

Published in Proceedings of the Conference of the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture, Cincinnati OH, October 3 - 5 1997. pp. 283-292


The paper describes the application of non-linear structural analysis methods to address archaeological questions concerning the reconstruction of the ancient city of Pompeii after a major earthquake that occurred seventeen years prior to the famous eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. It presents preliminary findings in an effort to develop an approach to modelling the two-way out-of-plane behavior of unreinforced masonry walls, including comparison studies with published analytic and experimental results for one-way loaded walls, plus a trial analysis for a two-way span condition. The approach requires the application of computationally intensive non-linear analysis techniques, since the linear analysis methods used in conventional design and education are inadequate to model the behavior of unreinforced masonry. Developing an understanding of the two-way behavior of unreinforced masonry has implications not only for archaeological investigation of ancient structures, but also for modern renovation of historic structures.