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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pompeii: Back From the Dead




For those of you interested in Classical Archaeology and the history of the Pompeii destruction, the documentary Pompeii: Back From the Dead created by Discovery Channel presents the eruption of Mount Vesuvius as never before, including the massive earthquake which preceded it. It always fascinated me, learning about Pompeii in history classes, why the people ignored the warning signs and chose to stay.

Pompeii is an archaeological site, which was destroyed around 79 AD by Mount Vesuvius. It was a town full of aristocrats and artisans. Artisans who were previously slaves, who gained freedom in Pompeii and became wealthy merchants. Pompeii was a place for the super-rich! The Palm Beach of the Roman world.

It was a place known for sexual indiscretions, what with the vast array of sex and bath houses. Emperor Nero's second wife, Poppaea Sabina, frequented Pompeii. She owned a villa there, in which a large pool was constructed, where she indulged with females and males of all ages. Pompeii wasn't just about "sexual antics", however. Pompeii had an impressive infrastructure consisting of roads and underground waterways. Yet, all of that meant nothing, when it disappeared during Mount Vesuvius' eruption.

When archaeologists discovered the city during the 19th century, they found citizens locked in time, under a blanket of ash. Their flesh completely gone. Plaster casts were created to preserve what was left, yet the creation of those casts destroyed every bit of 1st century skeletal evidence.

University of Texas Professor and Historian John Clark explains that there were several events leading up to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that many are unaware of. Furthermore, the skeletons discovered in the cellar, where a group of citizens, including some very wealthy aristocrats, sought refuge from the pumice, gas and the thousands of tons of volcanic ash emanating from Mount Vesuvius, is now allowing archaeologists and scientists to unlock genetic secrets.


Don Wildman takes viewers on an archaeological adventure and Dr. Fabian Kanz, Forensic Anthropologist from the Medical University of Vienna, investigates the new skeletal evidence, which has allowed us to understand Pompeii's' most intimate secrets.

If you'd like to watch Pompeii: Back From the Dead, it's available on Netflix for streaming, or you can purchase it here-->Pompeii: Back From the Dead

DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011
Run Time: 43 minutes

2 Comments:

Emm said...

It sounds like a fascinating video! I must try to see it. I would love to go to Pompeii one day.

Lauren Axelrod said...

@Emm

It really was. I know a great deal more about the citizens that lived there. At least, the citizens found in the cellar that took refuge. It's a must see.

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