Presenting Pompeii: Steps towards Reconciling Conservation and Tourism at an Ancient Site

Alia Wallace


Mass tourism can have many negative impacts on archaeological sites. As tourism increases, so does the need to actively manage these concerns. At the archaeological site of Pompeii this is particularly evident as tourism and its physical impact increase each year. This paper begins with a historical overview of the development of Pompeii as an archaeological site and heritage attraction and goes on to present the preliminary results of research into how presentation and interpretation can be used as a tool for site conservation and preservation at Pompeii. In 2011, extensive visitor observations and movement mapping were carried out to understand how visitor behaviours impact the site and how visitors move throughout the site. In depth interviews were also conducted with visitors to understand why they visit Pompeii and what they want from the experience. The results have provided a starting point for understanding how to develop a sustainable interpretation and presentation strategy that utilises the vast site more effectively and provides a better visitor experience.

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How to cite: Wallace, A 2013. Presenting Pompeii: Steps towards Reconciling Conservation and Tourism at an Ancient Site. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 22:115-136, DOI:

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Published on 14 February 2013.

ISSN: 2041-9015 | Published by Ubiquity Press | Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.