Pompeii, Italy

March 19, 2016

Pompeii was an ancient Roman town-city. It was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

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A paved street

Pedestrians used the blocks in the road to cross the street without having to step onto the road, which doubled up as Pompeii's drainage and sewage disposal system. The spaces between the blocks let vehicles pass along the road.

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2,000 year-old public laundry

In this public laundry a number of vessels containing urine were found nearby.

Urine was used to treat the cloth and was collected in terra-cotta amphorae which were stored in separate rooms not far from the workshop itself.

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Frescoes

The buildings feature colored frescoes on the walls and mosaics on the floors featuring birds, flower vases and other scenes.

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Pompeii, it seems, is absolutely filled with small, vivid green, furtive-looking lizards. They lie around in the sun on someone’s old front steps, climb in and out of cracks in the crumbly walls, and run away when you try to take their picture.

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Marcus Lucretius House

Many services have been found: the Macellum (great food market), the Pistrinum (mill), the Thermopolium (sort of bar that served cold and hot beverages), and cauponae (small restaurants).

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An amphitheatre and two theatres have been found, along with a palaestra or gymnasium. A hotel (of 1,000 square metres) was found a short distance from the town; it is now nicknamed the "Grand Hotel Murecine".

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Replica of the famous Alexander Mosaic from the House of the Faun

Geothermal energy supplied channeled district heating for baths and houses. At least one building, the Lupanar, was dedicated to prostitution.

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Copy of the Dancing Faun from the House of the Faun

Fauns are spirits of untamed woodland, which literate and Hellenized Romans often connected to Pan and Greek satyrs, or wild followers of the Greek god of wine and agriculture, Dionysus.

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The Tepidarium

The Tepidarium was part of the batch complex. It did not contain water and was merely heated with warm air of an agreeable temperature, in order to prepare the body for the great heat of the vapour and warm baths, and, upon returning, to prevent a too-sudden transition to the open air.

There are three main public baths in Pompeii: the Stabian baths, the Forum baths, and the Central baths.

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Forum Baths

Although they are the smallest, the Forum Baths are the most elegant of the thermae. Despite their small size, they contained everything necessary for the full bathing ritual: they were divided into men’s and women’s section, each with their own entrance, they had an apodyterium (or changing room), a frigidarium (or cold bath room), a tepidarium (or tepid bath room), calidarium (or hot bath room), an exercise field and toilets.

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Wood oven

The presence of many bakeries and pastry shops (about 34) for the production and sale of products made of flour, suggests that the bakery was one of the most thriving industries in the city of Pompeii.

The larger plants (about 23) were almost always fitted with grinders, stall, and a residential neighborhood, but without the shop for direct sale.

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The Forum was the economic, religious, and political center of Pompeii.

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The Forum

At the time of destruction, the Forum was isolated from the urban area by a large arcade that encircled it except to the north.

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As was typical of the time, most of the most important civic buildings at Pompeii - the municipal offices, the basilica (court-house), the principal temples (such as the Capitolium), and the macellum (market) - were located in or around the forum.

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Objects buried beneath Pompeii were well-preserved for almost two thousand years.

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The lack of air and moisture let objects remain underground with little to no deterioration. Once excavated, the site provided a wealth of source material and evidence for analysis, giving detail into the lives of the Pompeiians.

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However, once exposed, Pompeii has been subject to both natural and man-made forces, which have rapidly increased deterioration.

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Asellina's Tavern

Behind the façade of Asellina's tavern, you can see a masonry counter which contained four terra-cotta vessels for storing cooked meals.

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Asellina's Tavern

At the rear of the tavern are the remains of the staircase which led to the guest rooms on the upper floor.

The graffiti on the walls of these rooms suggests that customers could also enjoy the company of Asellina’s waitresses.

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The Amphitheatre of Pompeii is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre.

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Amphitheatre of Pompeii

Built around 80 BC, the current amphitheatre is the earliest Roman amphitheatre known to have been built of stone; previously, they had been built out of wood.

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The next Roman amphitheatre known to be built from stone is the Colosseum in Rome, which postdates it by over a century.

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The site was lost for about 1,500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery almost 150 years later by Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre in 1748.