Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Remains of Pompeii- Part 1

Sorry I have not posted in a while. My internet has been on the fritz.

So, this is a paper that I wrote for my anthropology class. The last part of the the series will have my sources in it and I will try and link everything together for you. Please do not copy.

Pompeii has been a draw for treasure hunters and archaeologists alike since its rediscovery in 1748 ( The volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius that coated the city nearly two thousand years prior left most of the city intact. In a time when all events were related to the gods, the eruption would have been seen as the gods punishment and would have kept scavengers away. By the time the gods were no longer feared, Pompeii had long been forgotten. This left most of Pompeii to be discovered with its wealth of artifacts and other physical remains. The findings at Pompeii gave long unseen insight to archaeologists as to the daily lives of Romans. With all that was found, what did archaeologists learn from the sight?

Pompeii Today
When Mount Vesuvius erupted, it released clouds of ash that coated two cities: Pompeii and Herculaneum. The cloud was full of rocks, ashes, and gases that could be seen from miles away. Today it is called a Plinean eruption, after Pliny the Younger ( Pliny was a young man of eighteen when he saw Mount Vesuvius erupt from across the bay of his home. His were some of the most complete letters found, describing the event to a friend years after the fact (Destruction of Pompeii). What Pliny did not know when the volcano erupted was that a couple days later, the ash would have settled, leaving nearly two thousand dead and buried within the city (

Pompeii recreation
Mount Vesuvius first belched a cloud of ash in the air which turned the sky dark and made the air thick. As it began to settle, it collapsed homes and trapped the inhabitants. Many did not realize just the danger they were in until this happened, and by that time it was too late. A second wave of gases swept in along with rocks, over taking and killing all who remained in the city. The tons of ash made it nearly impossible for those who returned to find the remains of family and friends or belongings left behind ( With the once fertile mountain side full of vineyards now gone and the memory of the volcano's wrath still in mind, the survivors left to find new homes elsewhere.

Ash found its way into every nook and cranny within Pompeii, completely encapsulating everything. Rains followed and packed the ash in, making a hard covering. J. J. Winckelmann studied Pompeii from 1759-1765, concluding that the city had received less rain than Herculaneum as its ash was not quite as compact (Dwyer 4). The remains of the city were preserved by this ash, giving a unique look at history. Buried items were protected from winds and rains, as well as oxygen. Where artifacts are difficult to come by in other areas, these had not been carried away by nature or man.

To be Continued.....

Part 2
Part 3

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