News / Arts & Entertainment

London Exhibit Shows Moving Picture of Pompeii Life, Death

Dog believed to have been buried from the volcano that destroyed Pompii in AD79 (Photo courtesy British Museum)
Dog believed to have been buried from the volcano that destroyed Pompii in AD79 (Photo courtesy British Museum)
Reuters
An exhibition showing daily life and tragic death in the ill-fated Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum opened in London on Thursday to glowing reviews and the highest advance tickets sales at the British Museum in five years.
       
Over 450 objects, many of which haven't been seen outside Italy, are arranged to show everyday life in the Roman Empire before Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79, burying the two Southern Italian cities in volcanic ash.
       
Paul Roberts, senior curator at the British Museum, said the once bustling urban centers had been brought back to life by items such as bread left in a baker's oven and a baby's crib.
       
"What we see are real people, ordinary cities,'' Roberts told Reuters ahead of the opening of "Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum'', the biggest Pompeii show in London for 40 years.
       
"[These are] not museum artifacts [but] possessions, things that people commissioned, bought, loved, enjoyed, used, handled,'' he said.
       
Onions, almonds and figs were found in drains in Herculaneum while a pot of toothpicks showed the care with which the Romans looked after their teeth.
       
A wall painting from Pompeii pictures a baker and his wife holding writing materials, showing they are literate while their pose suggests they are equal partners, in business and in life.
       
Some items from the smaller, seaside town of Herculaneum were preserved in better condition, buried under hot volcanic material four times the heat of a boiling kettle.
       
"That carbonized wood ... so the seven pieces of furniture we have from Herculaneum are the most special things we have," Roberts said.
       
The furniture includes a linen chest, an inlaid stool, a garden bench, and a crib that still rocks on curved runners.
       
Pompeii was discovered accidentally in the 1590s but excavations did not start until 1748. In the 1860s archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli pioneered a technique of pouring plaster into the cavities left by rotted bodies.
       
In the exhibition, casts show a family of two adults and two children huddled together in their final moments while another shows a dog, arched in distress before the volcano submerged the city that was home to about 15,000 people.
       
"These were the people of Pompeii, people in the moment of their deaths, and that's one of the things that's so moving about Pompeii,'' Roberts said.
       
A spokeswoman for the British Museum said more than 60,000 advance tickets have been sold for the exhibition - which runs until Sept. 29 - the highest number for any show staged in the past five years.
       
Sales have been helped by glowing reviews.
       
"This majestic event will hopefully remind the world that Pompeii is not some tourist attraction to treat shabbily but the world's most revelatory survival of the human past,'' Jonathan Jones wrote in The Guardian.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the latest edition of "Beyond Category" blues singer and guitarist Corey Harris performs with his band and talks about his travels in West Africa tracing the roots of the blues.