Gli Scavi di Pompei
The Pompeii Excavations
A Time Capsule From The Year 79 A.D., by Claudia
The volcano Monte Vesuvio - Mount Vesuvius - erupted in the year 79 A.D. during the reign of Roman Emperor Titus. He was Emperor for only three years (79 - 81 A.D.) but during that short time, two historic events occurred: the eruption of Vesuvius and the completion of the Colosseum (il Colosseo) in Rome. In Italian, this emperor was called l'Imperatore Tito.
In 79 A.D., the two small towns of Pompeii (Pompei) and Herculaneum (Ercolano) and all the villas in the surrounding countryside were completely buried under volcanic ash. It was a violent, pyroclastic eruption and it must have been terrifying for the people. In Italian, this type of eruption is called una colata piroclastica.
Centuries passed by and the area of Pompeii and Herculaneum lay forgotten and hidden metres underground. Then, in 1709, some coloured marble was discovered during building-work. It was part of the buried theatre of Herculaneum. This was a historic discovery and the beginning of excavations in the area. The time capsule had been opened!
Here is my photo album of when I visited Pompeii....
This is an archway leading onto a road. I am trying to imagine what kind of shopping you could do here 2000 years ago. The photo of urns and pots makes me wonder who were the last people to use those items. Which families did they belong to? What did they contain?
Here is a stairway. Where did it lead to? Two thousand years ago, people walked up and down those stairs. I am trying to imagine what those people looked like and how were they dressed.
There are archways and pillars nearby. It is amazing to think that these structures remain standing after the catastrophic eruption of 79 A.D. Who could have ever thought that I would be viewing the same stairs that were viewed by the building's ancient residents! They obviously had very good builders 2000 years ago!
Just look at that table! Mia mamma would love to have that in her house! In my opinion, furniture hasn't changed all that much. The table looks like something you would find in an antique shop.
Here is a view of some buildings. It is really excellent bricklaying to have survived that terrible eruption. In the distance you can see the dark silhouette of il Vesuvio. I hope he's sorry for the destruction he caused!
Here are some statues. I wonder what they would like to tell us? If only they could speak!
They must think that the world looks very different now. For them it was like waking up after a long sleep and finding that everything around them has changed.
I think they look lonely.
Below you can see the outline of rooms in buildings. It is amazing to think that people lived and worked in these spaces 2000 years ago!
Just look at how the interior walls were painted! Lots of walls still show their fresco paintings with bright colours. In Italian, a fresco is called un affresco.
My photo below is of the Temple of Apollo - il Tempio di Apollo. The altar stands on the ground in front of the steps. This was the main temple of Pompeii. Apollo was worshipped more than the other gods in this part of Italy.
When the excavators discovered skeletons of the poor people who did not escape the eruption, they found that their bones were always encased in a hollow space with a hardened ash exterior.
The compacted volcanic ash had settled and hardened around the shape of the person or animal underneath. Centuries later, when only a skeleton remained, the outer layer of hardened ash provided a mould of the original shape of the person or animal inside.
It was discovered that by pouring liquid plaster into the void and leaving it to harden then it would take the shape of what was originally there. It was an ingenious idea by the Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli.
In my photo below, you can see a plaster cast of one of the people of Pompeii. I feel very sad. This person lived and worked and had a family. It is very strange that he or she is resting on a table in the year 2024. I want that person to know that I am very sorry about what happened.
Papà was feeling tired so he found a room to take a nap. I think this must be the oldest hotel in the world!
I wonder who slept there before him? I wish I had a time machine.
My photo below reminds us that il monte Vesuvio is always present, lurking silently in the background. The passage of time has not changed the volcano. It is as dangerous as ever and we cannot forget what it is capable of doing.
We can never forget the courageous people who suffered during its eruption in 79 A.D.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at my photo album.
Ciao! A presto!