We spent a day of our Italian holiday visiting the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
In 79 AD the volcano Mount Vesuvious erupted. On that day, the surrounding area, including these two cities, were covered with nine feet of burning gas and rock.
When Pompeii was excavated in the 1920s, holes that had once contained organic matter were discovered. The ash had solidified before this matter had disintegrated. And of what did that matter consist? Well, wooden objects such as doors:
And, more hauntingly, the bodies of many people and animals who had died in the ash. The archaeologists found that they could fill these holes with plaster and recreate the forms that had once taken up the space of the hole. The remarkable and poignant casts created from these voids speak of the last moments of these peoples’ lives.
Because of the way Pompeii was buried so completely, and the nature of the solidifed ash which covered it, the city remained incredibly intact. I thought I’d share some pictures of Pompeii and its sister town, Herculaneum, also buried in the volcanic ashes. Click on the arrow below to start the slideshow.