In the Shadow of Vesuvius

Trip Start May 07, 2005
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55
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Trip End Ongoing


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Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Pompeii (Kim)

During our stay at the Amalfi coast we decided to visit the nearby ruins of Pompeii. The Roman community was destroyed in 79AD by an eruption of Vesuvius. We had watched some 2 hour Discovery channel special which had really peaked my interest in seeing the place. Our day trip was not enough time to see everything. We took a couple of hours to reach Pompeii by bus and the train. We spent about 2 hours there and saw about 1/4 of it.

Pompeii is a great example of a well preserved medium size Roman town. It has a Villa with some famous pagan reliefs painted on the walls, homes, temples, shops, tombs, and a good size colosseum. What is most extraordinary about these particular ruins over most other ruins is that one can see several examples of people in their last moments. The ash of the volcano hardened and preserved their shape in their final moments of life. A very wise archaeologist on the project figured out the hollows in some of this material could be filled in. Plaster of paster was poured into the hollow and allowed to dry. The volcanic material was chipped away revealing human and animal forms in various poses. Even their facial expressions were captured.

We didn't have enough time here and would love to return to see the rest of Pompeii in addition to the nearby town of Herculeneum which was also destoryed by the same catastrophe. Pompeii and it's residents were pummelled with ash and large rocks while Herculenium was overrun with lava. The two towns recorded this even frozen in history in two very different ways.

The modern day towns and cities have millions living in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Some of the volcanologiest believe this mountain is about due to blow again in our lifetime. If that is the case the disaster will be of a magnitude far surpassing what happened to the Romans living in Pompeii.
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