Research Division for the Mediterranean Areas (MAS)
Since 2002, the University of Tokyo has been involved in an interdisciplinary project to excavate ancient Roman archeological sites in Somma Vesuviana, a town in Naples, Campania, Italy, that were buried by eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius. The focus of this excavation has been a sustained effort to reconstruct the natural environment and cultural artifacts of an area devastated by volcanic eruptions.
The Research Division for the Mediterranean Areas was formed in 2012 within the Institute for Advanced Global Studies (IAGS) to oversee the project which continues to this day. Work is being carried out in line with the following four objectives:
1) Restoring the natural and cultural environments that existed prior to and immediately after volcanic eruptions.
2) Assessing the impact that being buried in volcanic debris has had on artifacts and archeological sites.
3) Tracing the social changes that took place from the time of Augustus, to which the archeological sites date, to the end of ancient times.
4) Collecting and studying related materials and documents of the Mediterranean region.