Just inside the Bay of Naples in Campania is Mount Vesuvius. It is hundreds of thousands years old, and has erupted more than 50 times. The most famous eruption occurred in 79 AD, when the volcano had Pompeii buried under a six-meter thick blanket of volcanic ash.
Two thousand people died, and the city was left alone in almost as many years. Scientists estimate that around 20,000 people lived in the surrounding area at the time of the eruption.
Vesuvius had Pompeii buried, but the city was largely intact underneath
When a group of explorers rediscovered the site in 1748, they were surprised by the discovery. Under a thick layer of dust and debris, Pompeii was largely intact. The ash had served as an excellent preservative.
Beneath all the dust, the city was almost exactly as it had been 2,000 years earlier. The buildings were intact, skeletons were frozen where they had fallen, and items and household goods were strewn in the streets.
The city of Pompeii is about six miles from the volcanic mountain, and was before the outbreak a thriving resort of Rome’s most affluent citizens.
Today, we find some of the most significant proofs of Roman civilization and everyday life of the past in the ruins. Wall paintings in Pompeii is our primary source of knowledge about roman painting.
Great casts from the Pompeii cavities
Especially for the excavations is that you can pour plaster into the cavities that living beings have left behind in the ash layers. This becomes great casts. First, this was only done of humans and animals, but eventually they have also taken such casts of tree roots. This gave a picture of vegetation and landscape architecture in the city.
Today, excavations of Pompeii has been going on for nearly three centuries, and scientists and tourists are still just as fascinated by the eerie ruins, as they were when the discovery was made in the 18th century. The city is not yet fully excavated, especially in the northwest are unexplored areas.