Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Italy - Pompeii

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Few places are as compelling as Pompeii. It was buried by Vesuvius' eruption in 79 AD, but unlike most of Italy, was never built upon. So when the site was discovered in the mid-1700s, it was almost untouched by the passage of time -- a veritable time machine back into the Roman era. The structures are remarkably well-preserved, and to archeologists, the physical structures tell stories about the social structures of the time. Fascinating and heart-wrenching.

Mt Vesuvius looms over the forum area of Pompeii.
A paved street. The stepping stones allow pedestrians keep their feet dry when crossing flooded streets, but still allowed horse carts to pass. You can see the ruts in the paving stones made by the cart wheels. 
Fast food Roman-style. These are large terra-cotta pots embedded in a stone counter. They kept food hot to serve common folks (who frequently lacked kitchens in their lodgings) throughout the day.
The dining room in the "Cryptoporticus House" -- the residence of a very wealthy Roman. The roof is new and was installed to help protect the house from the elements.
A fresco from the dining room above.
Children's "graffiti" in the Cryptoporticus House -- the Roman equivalent of drawing on the walls with crayons, but way more permanent!
A fresco in the "lararium" (private worship area) in the Cryptoporticus House.
The next few images may be disturbing. They are plaster casts of humans and animals caught by the pyroclastic flow and ash fall. I found them heart-wrenching.

The former granaries in the forum area are a warehouse of artifacts from the site. This is a plaster cast of a man trying to shield himself from the ash from the eruption.
A young boy victim.
This dog was unable to escape because he was chained in place. His agony is obvious.

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