Paris Archeological Exhibit Recreates Final Hours of Roman Empire’s Pompeii

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Arguably the most fiery exhibition of the summer, a new and immersive show in Paris, France, is reliving Pompeii’s final horrifying hours.

The new 3D Parisian exhibit of the famous Mount Vesuvius eruption opened on Wednesday. The immersive spectacle in the Grand Palais displays the ancient volcano erupting several times a day. 

“Pompeii” recreates Roman daily life in the city of the same name during the immediate hours leading up to the volcanic eruption in 79 AD that destroyed the city and killed its 40,000 inhabitants, reported AFP.

The exhibition, described by its organizers as a “time machine,” showcases a street and some of the lavish villas and temples that once adorned one of the richest cities in the Roman empire.  

Massimo Osanna, director of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, told AFP that one of the most unique parts of the exhibit is a chest of 100 tiny amulets of glass, ivory and amethyst used by a “witch to protect her clients from the evil eye.”

“We wanted to choose iconic and representative objects” to convey to visitors what life was like in Pompeii, the director told AFP.

The bodies of the victims of the eruption were buried exactly where they were during the explosion of Vesuvius, engulfed by clouds of searing hot ash. The show includes plaster casts which were based on people and animals frozen in their dying moments. 

The virtual reconstruction of the city “is not at all a Disneyland version,” Osanna stated, adding that “what we have shown in 3D corresponds exactly with our scientific research.” 

The exhibit, which runs until September 27, was delayed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The priceless items that are used in the show rarely travel outside Italy and had to be locked up by French authorities to keep them safe. 

Nearly a third of the ancient Roman city is still underground and awaits excavation by archaeologists.

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