Back 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.
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
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.