Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Day In Pompeii

It's been nearly 200 years since a volcano wiped out Pompeii, and archaeologists are still working to uncover the lost Italian city.

Sheila here.
I got to experience A Day In Pompeii with some one who really has - my daughter Katie.

She was there last summer on a school trip, and seeing the exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center with her made it it a much richer experience for me.

Mount Vesuvius erupted in the spring of 79 A.D. The city's 20,000+ residents had been warned by a series of earthquakes, but they had no idea what the warnings met. A few of them were able to escape, and the exhibit includes descriptions of what that day was like - the rain of fire and the deafening blasts of the volcano. But most of those thousands who lived their did not survive. Pompeii was completely covered in volcanic ash and debris, and within a few years, the city was forgotten.

The archaeological dig began in the 1700's, and it continues today. The University of Cincinnati has a team on the ground in Pompeii, bringing new information to light on the ancient peoples' way of life, culture, and history.The exhibit holds more than 250 artifacts from Pompeii - from an ancient archway to jewelry, pottery to frescoes. The visitor can envision the businesses which once stood in the vast city. Bakeries which stood centuries ago were the first to use the brick ovens still used today to cook pizzas. Works of art and furniture depict what homes were like. I find it fascinating that people lounged on couches when they ate meals.

As Katie and I walked through the exhibit, I asked her questions about what it was like there.
She and her classmates only got to spend one day, but they walked among the ruins and saw many artifacts like the ones on display here. Katie's description gave me a better idea of how large a city Pompeii was -- they only could see a small part in a day. The temperature the day the girls were there was brutally hot.

Back here in Cincinnati, the exhibit features photos and video of the ruins which Katie toured, along with a movie which shows what that final day of in Pompeii must have been like as Mt. Vesuvius erupted.

At the end of the exhibit, visitors see body casts of the victims, preserved in their final moments of life. It's very sad to think about how frightened they must have been. And Katie said she saw more of them here than she did at the site her tour visited in Pompeii.

Pompeii's archaeological treasures rarely leave Italy, and it's only visiting six U.S. Cities. The Cincinnati Museum Center is only tour stop here in the Midwest. It truly is a unique window into the ancient past, and I am glad my daughter and I got to share a glimpse through it

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