5 July 2023

An ancient tannery at the archaeological site of Pompeii, in southern Italy’s Campania region, near the coast of the Bay of Naples has been restored, writes Leatherbiz.



In a collaboration project between Italy’s national tanning industry body, UNIC, the Archaeological Park at Pompeii and Lineapelle, the ancient tannery site was first identified at towards the end of the 19th century. Identifying it as an ancient tannery was carried out through “epigraphic evidence” – the understanding of inscriptional texts but also through tools found during excavation, production preparations and the general layout, known to be similar to medieval and early modern tanneries.

Dating back to the middle of the first century, the tannery was subjected to severe damage during the Pompeii earthquake of 62 AD, leading to changes in its appearance and function. The excavation of the site unearthed fifteen cylindrical tanks used for the tanning of hides and skins. Ultimately the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD buried the whole of the Pompeii area in pumice and ash approximately four metres deep.

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