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Italy: Pompeii

italy-napels-1Back in July of last year, I wrote a post about Naples, Italy which sits in the shadow of the great Mount Vesuvius. https://traveldreamscapes.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/italy-naples/ Within Naples, in the Naples National Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli) you will find the artifacts from a city that was once situated near modern Naples approximately 2,000 years ago. That city was Pompeii and on August 24, 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius exploded, spewing tons of molten ash, pumice and sulfuric gas miles into the atmosphere. The firestorm engulfed the surrounding area suffocating all 20,000 citizens residing within the city. Pompeii was buried under 13 to 20 ft. of ash and pumice.

The city remained buried and undiscovered for almost 1700 years until excavation began in 1748. These excavations continue today and provide insight into life during the Roman Empire.

We did not learn about the disaster until the 16th century through the letters of Pliny the Younger which describe his experience during the eruption while he was staying in the home of his uncle, Pliny the Elder. The elder Pliny was an official in the Roman Court, in charge of the fleet in the Bay of Naples. The elder Pliny died while trying to rescue citizens from the catastrophe.

During the excavation, perfectly preserved objects that lay beneath the city for centuries were revealed. This was attributable to the lack of air and moisture. These artifacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of vibrant the city. The unearthing also revealed ash layers that once held human bodies. Plaster was used to fill in the voids between the ash layers allowing one to see the exact position the person was in when he or she died. The largest number of bodies (13) were found in what once was a garden.

The site of Pompeii has been a tourist destination for over 250 years. Today it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site drawing 2.5 million visitors every year.

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Not having had an opportunity to view the actual Pompeii site in Italy, I was elated when the artifacts arrived at the California Science Center recently. http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/Exhibits/SpecialExhibits/pompeii/pompeii.php?gclid=CO31vITKx74CFZJhfgodrJYAsQ

Marble bust

Marble bust 1st Century A.D. (Subject unknown)

Pompeii: The Exhibition features over 150 precious artifacts on loan from the Naples National Archaeological Museum. From garden frescoes and marble statues to gladiator armor, coins and currency to religious altars and shrines, once can experience daily life in this one vital Roman city.

It is amazing to see these artifacts and learn how advanced the Roman society was or to come to the realization of how little we have advanced as a modern society!

This is a great opportunity to experience something only tourists to Naples have experienced and I would highly recommend it.

One of many frescoes that once decorated a wealthy person's home

One of many frescoes that once decorated a wealthy person’s home

Large fresco featuring Hercules. Much of the Roman art featured Greek characters

Large fresco featuring Hercules. Much of the Roman art featured Greek characters

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Bronze religious figures that were worshipped at home

Bronze religious figures that were worshipped at home

Statue featuring one of the 7 sages of Greece

Statue featuring one of the 7 sages of Greece

Marble statue of a deer

Marble statue of a deer

Marble statue of four dogs

Marble statue of four dogs

Bronze statue of Satyr

Bronze statue of Satyr

Marble fountain

Marble fountain

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Marble table

Marble table

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Bronze commemorating Baccus

Bronze commemorating Baccus

Black and white mosaic

Black and white mosaic

Marble table

Marble table

Silver shell shaped dishes and spoon

Silver shell shaped dishes and spoon

Bronze container used to hold hot liquids served at mealtime

Bronze container used to hold hot liquids served at mealtime

Draftsman's tools

Draftsman’s tools

Anchor dating back to 1 A.D.

Anchor dating back to 1 A.D.

Marble weights

Marble weights

Ceramic container

Ceramic container

Gardening implements

Gardening implements

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Frying and baking pans

Frying and baking pans

Grill and kettle

Grill and kettle

Container used for storing wine

Container used for storing wine

Containers used for various oils, including olive oil

Containers used for various oils, including olive oil

Various oil burning lanterns

Various oil burning lanterns

Lantern holder

Lantern holder

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Bronze bathtub

Bronze bathtub

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Gold necklace and earrings

Gold necklace and earrings

Gold bracelet

Gold bracelet

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Statue of Venus

Statue of Venus

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Various glass items

Various glass items

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Bust of Julius Caesar's 10 year old grandson

Bust of Julius Caesar’s 10 year old grandson

Roman Gladiator's shin guards

Roman Gladiator’s shin guards

Gladiator's helmet

Gladiator’s helmet

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Woman's toiletries

Woman’s toiletries

Hydraulic valves

Hydraulic valves

Medical implements

Medical implements

Erotic mosaic from a Roman brothel

Erotic mosaic from a Roman brothel

One of the cast figures of the dead which was encased in ash

One of the cast figures of the dead which was encased in ash

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A young child's body

A young child’s body

A man who died on the stairs

A man who died on the stairs

A pregnant woman

A pregnant woman

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