Did A Bronze Age Venice Give Way To Pompeii?


Remains of stilts from Poggiomarino, via

One question that frequently gets asked is: “Who were the original Pompeiians?”

While the origins of the city are murky, archaeologists do know that in the seventh century BC the site quickly went from what was probably a sleepy fishing village to a full-fledged town. What happened? Many scholars suspect that the original settlers of Pompeii were actually refugees from a flooded “Bronze Age Venice” known today as Poggiomarino.

Poggiomarino was discovered in 2000 during the construction of a sewage plant near Naples on the Sarno River. Archaeologists were surprised to learn that the Oscan settlement consisted of small artificial islands surrounded by man-made canals, and the site was quickly dubbed the “Prehistoric Venice.” Excavations revealed houses on stilts, dugout canoes, and evidence of metalworking.

This “Bronze Age Venice” was established in the second millennium BC and abandoned by the seventh century BC, most likely due to flooding in the area. Many scholars suspect that the inhabitants of doomed Poggiomarino moved down the Sarno River to the coast—and became the founders of Pompeii!

For more information on Poggiomarino click here.