Friday, 11 April 2014

Pompei and Vesuvius

Pompei was destroyed by the Mount Vesuvius volcano in 79ad, the town was established in 200bc. It effectively died in one single night, and was then hit by two successive Pyroclastic Flow events. The volcanic eruption was preceded eighteen years earlier by an earthquake. Twenty thousand people died of asphyxiation, and were then buried.

The Remains of a Town

Those are the bare facts of Pompei and Herkulaneum. It does nothing to describe the place. Tilbury town from whence we recently set forth has a population of around twenty five thousand people, and a lean estimate would put ancient Pompei on around a similar footprint.

Massive Stone pine
Extreme Outer Wall
Amphitheatre Tunnels

Romano Shop Front


Table Legs in their Original Position
Vesuvius From the Crater
Modern Pompei in the Lea of the Volcano (frankly insane)
It's Still Active
Composite or Stratovolcano (built in Layers)
The roads still have the wagon ruts of two hundred and seventy nine years of cart travel ... urns, pots, painting, mosaics, street signs ... everything is still there, except the roofs. These fell under the weight of ash: between 5 and 6 metres of it (except the bath complex which was all of stone). In a small re-roofed building stand thousands of artefacts including plaster casts of bodies.

Pompei isn’t like Rome. Rome was a city, slowly buried and redeveloped over centuries. Pompei is a grave, a geological photograph of a day in the history of this world we occupy. It is special in ways barely comprehensible, it is moving in way we couldn’t have imagined. In a video we have made about the site, we postulate that almost all we learned of everything Rome, and of those folks at Time Team HQ who have educated us down the years, must in a greater part owe everything they know and can verify by the footprint of Pompei given its state of preservation.

Saturated with Water the Ash Slips

There are gaps in the presentation of the history, though unlike in Rome, this is being dealt with, by the construction of an ariel walkway, interactive displays and state of the computer walk throughs, still in development, and an ongoing archaeology lab, that will allow real-time viewing of the work still being done.
There are probably still portions of the town still buried. There are probably bits of it dug out and lost forever as New Pompei has spread over the intervening centuries.
We liked Pompei, and Vesuvius. Enjoy the Pictures.

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