Monday, March 03, 2008

A Day in Pompeii

Today I went to the exhibit, A Day in Pompeii , at the San Diego Natural History Museum. The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried by the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. In 1748, the city was discovered and archaeologists began to excavate the site which was very well preserved. I have always been interested in Pompeii and was excited to have the chance to see artifacts from this city, especially since I am unable to go to Italy and see it in person. The display of everyday items, such as jewelry, household items, statues, and colorful frescoes gave an insight into the daily life of the city. They also showed a video with computer recreations of what the city and its buildings probably looked like. But, the most interesting were the body casts of some of the victims in the positions they were in as they died. The bodies of the victims were encrusted in ash, and their bodies decomposed, but the form of their body remained. An archaeologist decided to pour plaster into the hollow shells to create the body casts. There was a man covering his mouth and nose in a futile attempt to protect himself from inhaling the thick ash, there was a guard dog that was so well preserved that even the collar was clearly visible, and the most touching was the forms of a man and woman lying together; the man was reaching out to shield the face of the woman to protect her from the ash. I could just imagine the fear of these people as they were overcome by the ash. This helped to bring me in touch with the past. It is one thing to read about it, but to actually see items used by the people of Pompeii, and to see actual people that lived there makes the history of Pompeii less of an abstraction and more of a reality.


Lance Anderson said...

Hey John

Great post. I really felt like I was there with you.



alex schaefer said...

Wow! Amazing. I looked online at some of the casts and they really are moving. Agony then is as agony now, suffering then is as suffering now. But so was joy and happiness then as it is today! I hope they all had beautiful lives and died quickly.

Great post!

Kathie said...

I bet that was neat to see! We have read many books on the subject, but that's as close as we've gotten! I wonder if the exibit will be out our way - my boys would love it!

Palm Springs Savant said...

John- nice post on Pompeii. That exhibit is really quite good. Glad you enjoyed it too!

stop by and say hi sometime.