Posts Tagged With: Pompeii

LIVING UNDER THE VOLCANO

 

“But he knows most of all that
he’s living beneath the volcano,
Won’t be so many more days,
Isn’t much time and it’s
gathering darkness,
my friend…”

 

~ Jack Bruce / Pete Brown ~

 

000 living under the volcanoDigitally enhanced image created from an original photo taken of Vesuvius in Italy in the summer of 1996.


© 2016 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: Perspective, Photography, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

THE ROAD TO HELL

 

“What is hell? Hell is oneself.
Hell is alone, the other figures in it
Merely projections.”

 

~ T. S. Elliot ~

 

000 the road to hellDigitally enhanced image created from an original photo taken of a street in Pompeii in 1996.


© 2016 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: Archaeology, Perspective, Photography, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

THE ROAD

 
“The road never ends…only our vision does.”

 

~ Amit Reddy ~

 


000 the roadDigitally enhanced image created from an original analog photo of a Roman street taken in Pompeii in June 1996.


© 2016 nightpoet all rights reserved


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AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOMENT – POMPEII 1996

A PRECARIOUS BALANCE

Like many archaeological or historical sites, Pompeii straddles the difficult position of being one of Italy’s most famous tourist attractions and trying to preserve itself for future generations and further scientific study. No small or easy task for a place that hosts an estimated 2.5 million visitors each year and is often more like a Roman Disneyland than a World Heritage Site, protected as such since 1997. Along with always being exposed to the whims of the weather, the endless flow of visitors takes a toll on both the integrity and the physical well being of the site. And although millions visit sites like the Pyramids or Stonehenge each year, the visitors are usually not crawling all over the actual monuments as they are able to do in sections of Pompeii. It is not an uncommon sight to see tourists pocketing loose mosaic stones or other objects to take back home with them. And although the reasoning is that such actions are small and harmless, they actually cause irreparable damage. Add to that a permanent lack of money and poor management and you have all the ingredients of a slow burning ongoing archaeological disaster, with no satisfactory or easy solutions. An attitude of ‘see it while you can’ prevails, for perhaps someday Pompeii will  have to have restricted access or even eventually be closed. One only needs to think of the example of the mismanagement of the Lascaux cave to see how one of the world’s most valuable cultural sites can be destroyed through an inability to effectively solve the problems of balancing the desire to have access to such a site and yet protect it from further harm. At least at Lascaux a duplicate model of the cave has served somewhat to satisfy the desire of people to experience the prehistoric art, but due to incredibly poor management decisions the original cave is on the brink of total destruction. One can only hope that those who are responsible for the preservation of Pompeii will do a better job in the future of managing very difficult options.

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOMENT – POMPEII 1996

Photo taken in Pompeii, Italy during a visit in 1996.

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© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved

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AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOMENT – POMPEII 1996

IN THE SHADOW OF VESUVIUS

Beset with mechanical problems, my twelve year old Minolta analog camera was on its last legs at this point; it finally gave up the ghost completely a bit later while I was wandering around Rome, but I still managed to capture Vesuvius looming darkly over the ruins of Pompeii. Digitalizing the colour slide a few years later only seemed to add to the photo’s difficulties. Sometimes though, even a not so perfect photo can preserve the mood and the memory of the moment. Earlier that day I had been on the summit of the volcano walking around the crater’s edge and enjoying an incredible view over the Bay of Naples. When one realizes that original summit of Vesuvius was partially blown away during the eruption that began the destruction of Pompeii on August 24th 79 AD, and that the cone collapsed the next day finishing the job, one can imagine that before the eruption the volcano looked much different than it does today. When I was on the crater’s edge I could see only a few harmless looking plumes of smoke and steam wafting skyward. Other than that, all seemed very peaceful. But looks are deceiving. Vesuvius is a ticking time bomb that could explode again any minute, today, tomorrow, in days, weeks, months or years. And with over two million people living in the vicinity of the volcano today, an eruption on the scale of that which buried Pompeii and Herculanum could turn into an unthinkable disaster. I was just always glad that it didn’t happen while I was up on the volcano. For something like that I don’t particularly need a ringside seat…

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOMENT - POMPEII 1996

Photo taken in Pompeii, Italy during a visit in 1996.

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© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved

 

Categories: Archaeology, Perspective, Photography | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOMENT – MORTALITY

FACE TO FACE WITH OUR MORTALITY – THE GHOSTS OF POMPEII 

At noon on August 24, 79 AD, the day after the Roman holiday of Volcanalia, which was appropriately dedicated to the god of fire, the Mount Vesuvius volcano on the Bay of Naples in Italy erupted violently, spewing clouds of ash and noxious gases into the air for the next eighteen hours and sending rivers of lava streaming down its slopes. The ash rained down upon the surrounding countryside and covered everything, including the nearby cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The next morning the cone of the volcano collapsed and a river of ash and mud engulfed the two cities, burying them. There they remained, forgotten until they were found quite by accident when in 1738 construction began on Charles of Bourbon’s palace. Amazingly the cities were well preserved due to the rapidity of the catastrophe.

Those who were unable to flee met a horrible fate as they were covered in ash and choked on the noxious fumes. Buried for some 1700 years under about 9 meters (30 feet) of mud and ash, their bodies were slowly reduced to skeletons. When excavations began in the early 1800’s the victims  of the eruption began to be uncovered. As more and more human remains were discovered the excavators noticed that the skeletons were lying in hollow spaces of compacted ash. It didn’t take much imagination to see that these were like molds and when plaster was carefully poured into them the results were that images of the bodies were cast, down to the details of their clothes, hair and faces. The final agonizing moments of their deaths had been faithfully preserved. It is estimated that some 2000 of the 20,000 residents of Pompeii perished on that day. So far about 1150 bodies have been recovered. The casts that one sees on display today of Pompeii’s men, women, children and animals were all made around the mid 1800’s. Casts are no longer being made today because the process destroys the skeletal remains, which can provide much more information than just the casts, despite their amazing eerie detail. Those who perished on that fateful August day could not, in their wildest imaginations, have foreseen how their mortality, the last moments of their lives would serve to tell their stories almost 2000 years later…

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOMENT - MORTALITY

Photo taken of a plaster cast of one of Pompeii’s citizens during a visit to the site in 1996.

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© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved

 

Categories: Archaeology, Perspective, Photography | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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