Pompeii Uncovered: From Daily Life to Disaster with Dr. Helena Meskanen

Pompeii Uncovered: From Daily Life to Disaster with Dr. Helena Meskanen


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Recent archaeological work in Pompeii has offered us new information about the long history people in the city had with the looming volcano, still seen towering in the near distance. What was life like next to an active volcano? Who lived here, and what do we know about the everyday life in the city?

We will start our conversation with an exploration of life in the Roman city, through the lives of both the well-known and the anonymous inhabitants. Focusing on the house of Caecilius Iucundus, we will explore how the son of a freed slave ended up a wealthy banker with a beautifully decorated house. We will discuss what life was like in his house, and the streets surrounding it, with street food vendors, bakers, and industry all around. Taking a walk from the house to visit one of the city’s bath houses, Caecilius would have seen ongoing election campaign notices, imperial propaganda, and religious services. But then, in 62 AD, a warning came in the form of an earthquake. We will examine how the city, and Caecilius’ household responded to it, not knowing what was to come. When the eruption finally happened in 79 AD, we have an eye witness account and archaeological evidence to tell the tragic stories of those who perished. We will finish the conversation with a discussion of the current excavations, and the various challenges it encounters. Vesuvius is still an active volcano, and the site requires preventative work against other natural and human made challenges as well.

Led by an archaeologist with several years of experience excavating in southern Italy, Dr Helena Meskanen, this interactive seminar will offer a deep dive into life and disaster in Pompeii. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a greater sense of life in an ancient Roman city and their response to natural disasters.

Dr. Helena Meskanen is an archaeologist specializing in ancient Greece, with research focusing on ancient Spartan religion. She has been leading tours of the British Museum for 3 years and feels passionate about the wide range of objects on display, and the stories they tell about the museum and the cultures that created them.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 11 reviews
82%
(9)
18%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
R
R.M.
Fascinating Story
S
S.
Loved the historical context and up-to-date latest information
D
D.
Life in the Shadow of Vesuvius
D
D.L.H.
Enjoyed my first Context Zoom - Will be Back for More!
S
S.S.
An excellent virtual tour

Customer Reviews

Based on 11 reviews
82%
(9)
18%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
R
R.M.
Fascinating Story
S
S.
Loved the historical context and up-to-date latest information
D
D.
Life in the Shadow of Vesuvius
D
D.L.H.
Enjoyed my first Context Zoom - Will be Back for More!
S
S.S.
An excellent virtual tour