Saturday, February 4, 2012


As we saw in our last post, Pompeii was a Roman city in southern Italy which was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius when it fiercely erupted in 79AD.  The fascinating thing about this story is that the people could see the volcano erupting but did not try to evacuate the city.  We pondered why this might be and discovered it was because back then they would not have known what a volcano was.  Thanks to progress in science, we now all know how dangerous volcanoes are but back then nothing was known about Vesuvius.  Can you imagine how confused the people would have been to see the black ash shooting up into the stratosphere and not knowing why.

When we first talked about Pompeii we thought that lava had poured down the mountainside and killed the people of the city.  However, we now know it was in fact the volcanic ash that caused their deaths.  The video below provides a fascinating explanation as to how the red hot ash and rock brought so many lives to an end on that fateful day.

The city of Pompeii lay beneath layers of ash and rock, almost like it never even existed.  However, since 1798 archaeologists have excavated the city.  After careful digging over the centuries they managed to unearth what was left of the city.  When digging through the layers of ash they came across some hollows.  They realised these hollows were left after the bodies of the victims had decayed, leaving their outline behind.  Plaster was then poured into these hollows and when it hardened archaeologists continued digging and were able to see the actual shape of the people who had died.  This video helps to explain the process:

Explaining the Pompeii bodies

Since the excavation of Pompeii, many tourists from all over the world have come to see its ruins and the casts of the people who died.  These visitors bring large amounts of money to the area therefore helping the economy.  Tourists will spend money in hotels, shops, restaurants, tour guide offices and many more places helping the local people to have jobs and make a living.  Pompeii is a great example of how tourism can help to bring cash to local businesses and provide jobs for local people who provide services for tourists.


  1. I found your blog very interesting. My 11 year old son was asking me about Pompeii today, so decided to do some research online and came across your blog. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thank you so much for your comment - hopefully your son found it useful! :)

    1. i didn't learn anything apart from everything!

  3. I really enjoyed your blog, we came across it whilst doing our spelling homework, we had to make a sentence with 'Volcano' in it, so we reseached Pompeii and found this - brillian!! Thank you.

  4. You are very welcome. It is lovely to receive such positive comments and know others are finding the blog useful :)