The Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation (RAS) is a non-profit Italian cultural Foundation founded in Washington DC in 2002, by the initiative of the University of Maryland, as a cooperative project in the field of cultural heritage born under international treaty that in effect links the United States and Italy.
The Restoring Ancient Stabiae project aims to construct an archaeological park of almost sixty hectares on the site of ancient Stabiae (a city buried with Pompeii and Herculaneum by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD), which will restore in their original context, in the cultural and environmental sense, the grand and luxurious Roman coastal villas located there. These villas were constructed between the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Empire and are still buried, for the most part.
Stabiae was such a beautiful locale that the richest and most powerful of the Roman elite chose to build their most luxurious residences, villas of extraordinary proportions the finest décor. The US Department of State, Bureau of Cultural Affairs, has already been following RAS’s activities for some years, knowing that it represents, in its structure and mission, one of the best examples of international collaboration between American Universities and institutions and the world of Italian culture.
In the pursuit of its goals, RAS has formed partnerships with the University of Maryland, the Region of Campania, and the Superintendency for Archaeological Resources of Naples and Pompeii.
With this latter partner a “sponsorship contract” was signed in 2006, in accordance with the “New Code of Cultural Heritage” (Nuovo Codice dei Beni Culturali), which allows the Foundation to execute, at its own care and expense, all of the excavation, conservation, restoration, development, and management of the Stabiae site that is necessary for the realization of the Archaeological Park.
RAS has also signed a series of protocols of agreement with the municipalities of Castellammare di Stabia, Torre Annunziata, Boscoreale, Lettere, Gragnano, Santa Maria la Carità, and Sant’Antonio Abate) in the matter of archaeological resource development.
The Foundation bases its activities on the conviction that cultual legacies beong to the whole world, and it offers archAeology as an extraordinary opportunity for the coming together and exchange between diverse cultures.