Pompeii exhibit in NYC shines light on buried city
Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 8:01 pm
NEW YORK (AP) — A new exhibition from Italy that opens Friday at New York’s Discovery Times Square captures the last gasp of the ancient city of Pompeii before it was buried under volcanic ash, mud and rock when Mount Vesuvius erupted 2,000 years ago.
Copies of body casts that researchers made from the skeletal remains of residents buried alive are an eerie part of the exhibit — a crouching man covers his mouth, a chained dog appears contorted, a family of four huddle together.
A short film recreates what Pompeians might have felt as they tried to escape. The museum’s floor vibrates as the volcano’s furor grows; a movie screen rises and a double door opens to reveal a funereal scene of 20 “bodies” hardened in poses from their final moments.
Pompeii existed for 700 years before it was snuffed out in just 24 hours.
“Pompeii The Exhibit: Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius” also chronicles life in the vibrant mercantile city before and after Vesuvius erupted. Colorful room and garden frescoes, mosaic floors, pottery and gold jewelry are among the artifacts featured. Located on Italy’s western coast, Pompeii’s rich volcanic soil produced wine grapes, wheat and other crops. Both a river and sea port, the city exported goods throughout the Roman Empire and imported such items as lamps, pottery and olive oil from northern Italy, France and Spain.
Its 25,000 inhabitants were well-to-do farmers, bankers, ship captains and traders whose thriving city boasted 200 wine bars, inns and restaurants, 33 bakeries, and Thermoplia, the fast food shops that ladled hot foods from big terra cotta pots.
Published in The Messenger 3.9.11