Everything we knew about the victims of the eruption of Vesuvius, occurred in AD 79, and about the ancient town is false: the truth, different from that which so far had been told, is coming to light thanks to the analysis of Mary Beard, professor at the University of Cambridge and historian who has spent her life investigating Pompeii.
Her investigations have focused on the body casts of the victims, who represent the people at the exact instant of their death during the eruption. The casts were created in 1863 by Giuseppe Fiorelli, director of excavations at the time, filling with liquid plaster the empty spaces of the bodies that emerged under the ashes.
The scientist has examined some of the recently restored plaster casts, subjecting them to analysis of a CAT scan, a machine normally used in medicine. The test results are surprising and reveal something very different from what until now was considered truth.
Every cast is a person with its own history. "In fact, over the years many legends have been invented about these people and their way of life", like Mary Beard explains. Stories that we were always told but that were proved to be false.
Starting from the cast known as the "beggar": in his hand he had a strange object, which was believed to be the bag where to put the alms money and so far hasbeen imagined as an old man. That’s all false: the strange object in his hand is a flaw of the plaster cast and the exams, analyzing the clothes he wore, showed expensive sandals and belts used only by persons of the richest social classes. Regarding the age, he was not aged, but a young man in good shape.
And the "pregnant woman"? Never existed: she never had the belly, but her clothes had created a bulge during the eruption. Also debunked was the myth of the "Moro", which was previously believed a slave from North Africa. But the examination made through the CAT scan shows that he was a young man in good shape and that "there is no evidence that he arrived from North Africa or he had dark skin".
Moreover, Mary Beard explains that many details have come to light from the analyzes show that Pompeii was not a marginal city isolated from the rest of the Roman Empire. But it was a very lively center of many wealthy young people full of initiatives.
Legend had it, that young and healthy people were able to escape the eruption, leaving smoldering elderly, sick and pregnant women. All collapsed myths: the volcano's victims were neither old nor pregnant women, but young people in good health. According to what Mary Beard found out, they were probably wealthy citizens, who until last time attempted to salvage their belongings.
Collapsed, finally, even the certainties on the period of the eruption of Vesuvius. So far, everyone was convinced that it had taken place in the middle of August, but the clothes worn by the victims were heavy: it means that the tragic event happened during the fall season, with all due respect to what we had always believed.
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After two thousand years, the ancient city of Pompeii still arouses curiosity and wonder. One of the world's largest archaeological sites, despite the bare ruins, is able to drag all its visitors to another dimension and make a journey through time to 79 AD, before the eruption of Vesuvius buried it all under thick layers of magma and ash.
To support the imagination there is the latest scanning technology, through which it was possible to reconstruct entirely a noble house (called “domus”) of Pompeii: the layout of the rooms to the furnishings, while the "virtual visitor" holds center stage, to the point to give the feeling of being there, within it, to spy on the lives of two thousand years ago.
The video, produced by a team of international scholars (available on http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4e3_1475703094), shows all the details of the unmistakable style of Pompeii, but also the functional works to facilitate the needs of everyday life. Once coming inside from the front door, in fact, a corridor leads to the atrium, which is a large courtyard, that was the heart of the house. At the center of the atrium there was a small pool, called “impluvium” for collecting rainwater coming through an aperture in the roof, the “compluvium”, also used to illuminate the interior of the house through the sunlight. This system was used until the ancient Romans provided even the city of Pompeii for a water network, to which they connected the noble houses. From that moment the “impluvium” lost its function and became an additional element of decor, with elegant and distinctive notes.
The video moves on to the office of the landlord, called “tabularium”, then to the room used to receive guests, with frescoes on the walls, which in recent times have been removed and transported to museums. Outside, a lush garden with fountains was the perfect place to rest in the afternoon.
The life of the Pompeiians was marked by the rhythms of the sun. In fact, because of the absence of electricity, the inhabitants had to take advantage of every last ray, and Pompeii began to come alive right from the morning, or perhaps, never slept, so that it can be defined as the "Big apple" of antiquity.
The emperor Julius Caesar in fact, to avoid a chaotic traffic during the day, ordered that all the carts had to leave the city before dawn. This law was applied in the main cities of the Roman Empire and, apparently, even at Pompeii. So, for all deliveries and transport they needed to take advantage of the night, and by day Pompeii became a large pedestrian area.
However, this law was not considered important by the patricians, because they had many faithful servants. Despite they also woke up very early, they used to have a full breakfast, consisting of bread, cheese, vegetables and leftovers from the day before, consumed in the triclinium, the banquet hall. After that, they went to the spa or the barber and, finally, they went to the Forum, the city's main square, where they could gain information of all kinds, from politics to economics and gossip.
This was the life of men who lived two thousand years ago, and, in some aspects, it does not seem so different from today’s life. The video offers a blast from the past and whets the interest, the desire to learn more about this place that the eruption of Mount Vesuvius made eternal and that even today, amazes scholars around the world.
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The National Archaeological Museum of Naples (MANN) continues its policy of international cultural offerings, signing a cooperation agreement with the American company “Exhibitions International”.
The "Pompeii. The Exhibition " project will bring the show on tour in the United States, thanks to the extraordinary richness and quality of the works actually still in storage, resulting in a significant twofold objective: the museum does not deprive itself of the objects now on display in the permanent collection and will, at the same time, fulfill the huge demand about the testimonies of everyday life of the Vesuvian cities that is coming in from all over the world.
The MANN is certainly closely related to Pompeii which is demonstrated by its important and large collection of antiquities coming from the Mont Vesuvius.
But the MANN is also much more and there are many projects that it will develop abroad. Here are concentrated enormous resources: the most important asset in the world of classical statuary brought to Naples by the Farnese family, which is the exemplum of the whole evolution of Western sculpture; the portal of the Italian culture of Ancient Greece, thanks to the discoveries made in the Kingdom of Two Sicilies; the second largest Egyptian section - after the one in Turin - with the peculiarity of having a lot of objects that appeared in Italy before the Napoleonic expedition, where you can discover the taste of the pre-Napoleon's Egyptian culture.
The MANN is considered one of the most important archaeological museums in the world and it is the most important regarding the history of Pompeii. From 2013 to 2015 a traveling exhibition, entitled "Pompeii. The Exhibition", made by MANN thanks to the support and the scientific competence of the Special Superintendency for Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompeii, has led in the United States a first pilot draft show of Pompeii. And the data of visitors to the exhibition venues about the three cities involved in the USA, confirm the success of the project: Philadelphia, Franklin Institute (five-month stay, 204,401 visitors), Los Angeles, California Science Center (eight-month stay, 298,830 visitors ) and Seattle, Pacific Science Center (three-month stay, 180,340 visitors).
Thanks to this great success, the Director of the MANN Paul Giulierini signed an agreement with John Norman, president of “Exhibitions International”, for a grand tour of the United States from November 2016 to May 2018. The stages will be Kansas City, Union Station, passing through Phoenix, where the exhibition will be hosted at the Museum of Science and Industry from June to October 2017 and finally in Tampa at the Museum of Science and Industry, from November 2017 until May 2018.
The newness of the project "Pompeii. The Exhibition", is that it will show for the first time a major complex of frescoes and sculptures discovered in the Citharist Domus, one of the most important Pompeian villas. When visitors will go to the exhibition will experience a journey back in time to that fateful morning when the eruption happened. Surrounded by a rich experience of multimedia and archaeological finds, the public will have the opportunity to understand how Pompeii was a thriving commercial port, a focal point for trade and for the military life of the Roman empire.
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Italo, an Italian railway company, wants to do its part to ensure that some of the great monuments which are now in bad condition can come back to their original beauty, so the company decided to assist LoveItaly in the regeneration and restoration. This project includes the restoration of the cubicle of the Domus of the Centaur, one of the most beautiful bedrooms of the archaeological site of Pompeii.
The initiative of Italo also joins the other three recovery projects launched by the association: a dig in the Roman Forum, a late-sixteenth-century painting damaged by the flood in Florence in 1966, a cycle of paintings of the Renaissance located in Venice. LoveItaly was founded two years ago by the initiative of LV Venture Group, a holding company in digital startups, listed on the Milan Stock Exchange and an international group of experts, professionals in cultural goods and volunteers to support, protect and promote the artistic heritage of the beautiful country through crowdfunding, a form of micro financing from below that mobilizes people and resources online.
In addition to the procurement of financial resources to make concrete those reclamation projects of the part of Italian cultural heritage that is in bad condition, LoveItaly aims to create new opportunities to bring people to the culture with initiatives and projects. "From the Deep South to northern Italy, there are many works that need to be retrieved," says Gloria Arditi, a founding member of LoveItaly, during the inauguration of the new Italo-NTV Lounge in Naples Central station. "However, what we need to evaluate a request of help in terms of funds is a concrete idea of intervention which includes also a detailed project from an administrative point of view. We choose projects thanks to what is showed to us by the Superintendence, the Universities, the Foundations, the restorers and enthusiastic citizens. It is a virtuous path that allows us to be protagonists of necessary change in support of the immense Italian heritage and, therefore, needs both small and large collaboration from each of us. If we all become patrons, each within the limits of their ability, many things will change. "
For the House of the Centaur of Pompeii it was possible to donate through a QR code. For the restoration of the sarcophagus of Tiasio Marino, a work of the imperial age, there is also the collaboration of some young restorers of the Superior Institute for Conservation and Restoration of Rome, to which was given the opportunity to put into practice their studies. As for the choice of the intervention object, the Centaur House is located in one of the most important districts of the city, already favored by the Sannita aristocracy, also for its proximity to the Forum. Inside the most beautiful cubicle of the house, the most important example of a room with antechamber and the alcove of old age (the Second Century b.C.). That age was the period of the greatest splendor of the city, explains Fabio Galeandro, head of Regio VI of Pompeii site.
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Always great news if you are planning a journey to visit the ancient city of Pompeii! The superintendent of Pompeii Massimo Osanna announced that it will return to dig inside the excavations of Pompeii and especially in the Regio IV and V, where the work will start to bring to life city segments still buried. The announcement was made during the third follow-up meeting for qualified tourist guides in Pompeii. Osanna said that: "in the Regio IV-V there is a sort of non-excavated peninsula that runs through a zone already brought to light".
The excavation project is about to start and will not prevent the visit of the many tourists who flock to the ruins, because a transparent system will be used: "by allowing tourists to be accompanied by guides during the visit in the excavation", as Osanna said.
Osanna during the meeting updated the guides and also talked about the progress of the Great Pompeii Project by announcing that: "the photographic digitalization archive is almost finished". The intention is to show to the public the most representative images. It is also expected to put on display the body casts, restored and now on display at the entrance of the Amphitheater gate, in the barns. An exhibition that would include not only the famous body casts but also the various relevant objects about daily life in ancient Pompeii.
Regarding some archeological finds damaged by the bombing in 1943, Osanna made it clear that now they are at the " Venaria Reale in Turin to be restored and studied." Villa of the Mysteries is the place most appreciated by the tourists, as it emerged from a satisfaction survey that was recently made. In the second place we find the baths and finally, in the third place, the body casts. The satisfaction survey also showed a great liking towards the tourist guides of the Regione Campania, who prove to be not only prepared on the history of the ruins but also on the current events involving the site.
At the end of his meeting Osanna talked about the project Pompeii for All, nearing completion, which allows visitors in wheelchairs to be able to easily take advantage of the excavations by means of a specially designed path, which includes a lift with walkway from the Temple of Venus and steps on pedestrian crossings. The construction site in question will end approximately in November.
As a tribute to the fame of Pompeii, it should also be mentioned the great collection of 180 thousand euros that the city has experienced lately and that will be donated to people affected by the big earthquake happened last August 24 in the Italian region of Marche.
So, the city of Pompeii thinks not only to the needs of the many tourists from all over the world but is also committed on the Italian territory to which it belongs.
Staff at Flashback Journey to Pompeii. Our goal is to bring you up-to-date information on events, continuing archeological excavations and more on Pompeii.