Lecture | Robert Giegengack on Vesuvius

A nice UPenn lecture on the ‘science’ side of Vesuvius and related volcanoes … here’s the blurb:

The Pompeii Lecture Series, presented in conjunction with the Franklin Institute’s new “A Day in Pompeii” exhibition, kicks off with this talk by Dr. Robert Giegengack, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Mount Vesuvius is the most active volcano in Europe and the Mediterranean; its explosive eruption in 79 CE produced a cloud of heated dust and gases that killed about 16,000 people in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the adjacent countryside. In this lecture, Dr. Giegengack discusses the history and science surrounding the eruptions of Vesuvius and other volcanoes in the Calabrian Arc.

Pompeii and Herculaneum ~ The Telegraph Coverage

Last week the Telegraph devoted a major portion of its newspaper to the upcoming Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition at the British Museum … I think I’ve managed to find all the links, all of which have plenty of images and all the Alastair Sooke things have videos. Some familiar names have penned most of these pieces. You can probably kill an hour or so perusing the following:

Another Wall Collapse at Pompeii

Oddly … this doesn’t seem to be getting much press attention. From the English edition of Gazzetta del Sud:

A stone wall collapsed at the Pompeii archaeological site on Friday, probably due to the wave of bad weather that is currently battering Italy. The wall was in an area of the site that had been sealed off from the public for work to make it safe. The collapse involved roughly two cubic meters of the wall, which was part of the Regio VI archeological area uncovered in the 19th century. Frescoes were not reported to be damaged. After recent collapses in the past two years, there has been growing concern about Italy’s ability to protect the 2,000-year-old site from further degradation and the impact of the local mafia, the Camorra. In April this year a wall surrounding an ancient Pompeii villa collapsed just two weeks after the Italian government launched a joint 105-million-euro project with the European Union to save the UNESCO World Heritage site. In February a yard-long piece of plaster fell off the ancient Temple of Jupiter. In late December a pillar collapsed in the garden of the House of Loreius Tiburtinus, famous for its extensive gardens and outdoor ornamentation, in particular its Euripi, fountains that feature many frescoes and statuettes. In November 2010 there was a collapse in the House of the Gladiators which drew criticism from UNESCO and the European Union. It was followed soon after by a collapse at the famed House of the Moralist, spurring further criticism from international conservation groups. In October 2010 there were another three minor cave-ins, including one at the House of Diomedes, after a fresh bout of heavy rain and an outcry when an eight-square-metre section of a wall fell near the Nola Gate. Pompeii was destroyed when a volcanic eruption from nearby Mount Vesuvius buried the city in ash in 79 AD and it now attracts more than two million visitors a year. Polemics about looting, stray dogs, structural decay and poor maintenance have dogged Pompeii in recent years.

I can’t find any photos of the collapse, for some reason. Whatever the case, what’s even more interesting is that just a scant couple of weeks ago, UPI was reporting:

Deterioration at the ancient city of Pompeii has been exaggerated by the media and efforts to protect the site are making progress, Italian officials say.

Recent collapses of structures have resulted in growing concern about Italy’s ability to protect the 2,000-year-old site from further degradation, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported.

“Problems exist at Pompeii but they have been exaggerated by negative journalists,” Teresa Elena Cinquantaquattro, Special Archaeological Superintendent for Naples and Pompeii, told ANSA. [...]

Not sure if this will work, but here’s a ‘search link’ to all the instances of the word ‘collapse’ at rogueclassicism … I’ll let you decide whether we’re ‘exaggerating’ (and I have difficulties wrapping my head around the ideas of a ‘wall collapsing’ and the concept of ‘exaggeration’ … sorry).

Solomon, Socrates, and Aristotle in Pompeii?

Yesterday my mailbox metaphorically ‘dinged’ and what was in it was an item from a couple of years ago which was in one of the 2008 issues of Biblical Archaeology Review. It claims that a wall painting in the House of the Physician at Pompeii depicts Solomon, Socrates, and Aristotle sitting in judgement, yadda yadda, yadda … you can read it here for yourself:

… and, of course, it is being touted (again) as the earliest depiction of a scene from the Bible. When one looks at the thing up close, however, it is a pretty sketchy claim and Dorothy King more-than-adequately shot this one down a year or so ago:

That recent papyrus thing (Another Papyrus ~ Implications for the Ancient Novel?) might also somehow be an influence here …

Some Pompeii Stuff

We’ll start with a video  from the BBC and with a focus on what the people died from:

… and then remind folks of a Scientific American blog on the subject (which includes another one of our fave videos):

… and now that you’re interested (as if you weren’t), we’ll remind folks of the Ancient World Open Bibliography on the subject:

… and in case you didn’t see it in the Scientific American thing up there:

ED: Vesuvian Archaeology Courses

I’ve seen this one in various places (this particular text is via the Classicists list):

New courses for university students: Discover the ancient Romans in the shadow of Vesuvius!

The Herculaneum Centre www.herculaneumcentre.org  is very pleased to announce the launch of a new series of university-level courses related to Vesuvian archaeology that will take place in September 2012 and March 2013, with learning mostly taking place at the sites themselves.

The Vesuvian Archaeology Study Programme has been specifically designed to meet the needs of university students. The programme content is suitable for students of Roman history, archaeology, architecture, history of art and material culture. Students of heritage management and conservation will find the programme offers stimulating case studies that explore the role archaeological sites play in the modern world and the challenges of conserving them.

Participants will visit Pompeii, Herculaneum and Oplontis, lesser known sites such as Villa Sora, as well as exploring the Vesuvius National Park and the National Archaeology Museum in Naples. This rich programme will be led by Dr Joanne Berry, scholar and author of The Complete Pompeii (Thames and Hudson, 2007) and founder of Blogging Pompeii, with input from a range of other scholars and practitioners active in the field.

We bring together the best of our three partners: the Comune di Ercolano (the town council) offers us a network of local partners and resources, the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei (the local heritage authority) ties us to the archaeological site which is used as an open-air classroom, and the British School at Rome offers connections to international and research communities.

Details of the courses can be found at www.herculaneumcentre.org, and a leaflet and application form are available to be downloaded on the British School at Rome website http://www.bsr.ac.uk/courses-for-university-students-shadow-of-vesuvius.

Please forward this information to your students!