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It is thought that the city of Pompeii was founded in the 8th century B.C. by the Osci, Italic peoples descended from Indo-Europeans who migrated into Italy in the second millennium. Pompeii was under the influence and control of various powers over the centuries: the Greeks, Etruscans, Samnites and finally the Romans at the start of the 3rd Century B.C. It later rebelled against Rome with other Italic towns but was reconquered and became a Roman colony in 80 B.C.
In 62 A.D., an earthquake struck the region, destroying or damaging numerous buildings. As a result, much of the city had to be rebuilt. In 79 A.D. Pompeii was a vast construction site with cranes and scaffolding dissecting it, a bustling, vibrant city on the move. That year, Pompeii and neighboring Herculaneum were buried by a catastrophic volcanic eruption in just 24 hours. While it violently ended the lives of the inhabitants, it also preserved Pompeii’s living environment making it possible for us to explore what life was like nearly 2,000 years ago.
The site was lost for almost 1500 years. Now the most advanced scientific research brings to light the extraordinary achievements of Pompeii and the Roman world. Discover a remarkable civilization that pushed the envelope of innovation. Over 100 unearthed objects from Pompeii demonstrate Roman knowledge of nature, science and technology and confirm the extraordinary heights they achieved.
A Pompeiian Family
You’ll begin your visit by meeting the characters who will accompany you throughout the exhibition. Caius junior and his close relatives are excited about preparations for a forthcoming banquet and are busy rebuilding the thermal baths destroyed by that earthquake 17 years earlier. You’ll learn what life was like for Pompeiians in the first century A.D.
The Destruction of the City
An immersive multimedia experience will plunge you into the heart of the drama as you hear the roar of Mount Vesuvius and feel the earth move under your feet when it erupts before your eyes.
Next, you’ll discover Pompeii as it was in ancient times. 3D reconstructions, artworks and artifacts excavated from the ruins take you into the world of an ancient Roman city.
Craftsmen and Technicians
Many craftsmen shaped the face of the city we admire today. The architects and engineers, who were most often slaves, played a key role. Discover metal-working, stonemasonry and the revolution in glass. See a calcatoria, the largest construction crane used at the time.
The Romans scientific know-how helped them devise machines, instruments and a variety of mechanisms. See reconstructions of a number of them. You’ll admire the way in which they distributed water to every part of the city and be astonished by their medical progress: cataract operations, the healing of broken bones and dental care – very similar to our own!
Meet the Inhabitants
Another immersive moment, no doubt the most emotional. The bodies immobilized in ash speak from beyond the years and are transformed, come back to life as the inhabitants of former days.
Grapes, olives and wheat were cultivated in the region around Pompeii and several species of land animals and marine life were bred or farmed here – including dormice! See a loaf of bread, ready to be eaten, that has reached us intact from so long ago.
Pompeii: The Immortal City
Exhibition developed and produced by TEMPORA in collaboration with Civita and Filmmaster based on the scientific research of Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli and Museo Galileo Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze and distributed by Exhibits Development Group.
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Local support provided by
Joel E. Ferris Foundation
Tim and Rachel Mitrovich
Carl M. Hansen Foundation
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