POMPEII from the British Museum

The "Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum" exhibition

Pompeii from the British Museum will offer an exclusive private view of the British Museum’s blockbuster exhibition Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum. The exhibition focuses on the homes and lives of the inhabitants of the thriving industrial hub of Pompeii and the small seaside town of Herculaneum nearly 2,000 years ago when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. Introduced by British Museum Director Neil MacGregor, this fascinating show will take you around the exhibition with insights from renowned experts who will bring these extraordinary objects to life with accompanying music, poetry and eyewitness accounts.

Running time: 89 minutes

…nothing I've seen or read before tells the story in the way the British Museum does. - Telegraph

This majestic event will hopefully remind the world that Pompeii is not some tourist attraction to treat shabbily, but the world’s most revelatory survival of the human past. - The Guardian

This exhibition offers an overarching view of a complex society…we glimpse their sense of humour, or understand their hopes or desires…see what they chose to try to rescue as they tried to make their doomed escapes. - The Times

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Additional Information about the Exhibition

This exhibition is the first ever held on these important cities at the British Museum, and the first such major exhibition in London for almost 40 years. It is the result of close collaboration with the Archaeological Superintendency of Naples and Pompeii, and brings together over 450 fascinating objects, both recent discoveries and celebrated finds from earlier excavations. Many of these objects have never before been seen outside Italy. The exhibition has a unique focus, looking at the Roman homes and the people who lived in them in these ill-fated cities.

Pompeii and Herculaneum, two cities on the Bay of Naples in southern Italy, and much of the surrounding area were buried by a catastrophic volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in just 24 hours in AD 79. This event ended the life of the cities but at the same time preserved them until rediscovery by archaeologists nearly 1700 years later. The excavation of these cities has given us unparalleled insight into Roman life.

Owing to their different locations Pompeii the industrial hub of the region and Herculaneum a smaller, seaside city were buried in different ways and this has affected the preservation of materials at each site. Work continues at both sites and recent excavations at Herculaneum have uncovered beautiful and fascinating artefacts. These include treasures many of which will be displayed to the public for the first time, such as finely sculpted marble reliefs, intricately carved ivory panels and fascinating objects found in one of the main drains of the city.

The exhibition gives visitors a taste of the daily life of the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum, from the bustling street to the family home. The domestic space is the essential context for people’s lives, and allows us to get closer to the Romans themselves.  This exhibition explores the lives of individuals in Roman society, not the classic figures of films and television, such as emperors, gladiators and legionaries, but businessmen, powerful women, freed slaves and children.  One stunning example of this material is a beautiful wall painting from Pompeii showing the baker Terentius Neo and his wife, holding writing materials showing they are literate and cultured.  Importantly their pose and presentation suggests they are equal partners, in business and in life.

The emphasis on a domestic context also helps transform museum artefacts into everyday possessions.  Seven pieces of wooden furniture have been lent from Herculaneum in an unprecedented loan by the Archaeological Superintendency of Naples and Pompeii. These items were carbonized by the high temperatures of the ash that engulfed the city and are extremely rare finds that would not have survived at Pompeii – showing the importance of combining evidence from the two cities.  The furniture includes a linen chest, an inlaid stool and even a garden bench.  Perhaps the most astonishing and moving piece is a baby’s crib that still rocks on its curved runners.

The exhibition includes casts from in and around Pompeii of some of the victims of the eruption.  A family of two adults and their two children are huddled together, just as in their last moments under the stairs of their beautiful home.  The most famous of the casts on display is of a dog, fixed forever at the moment of its death as the volcano submerged the cities.



Show Dates & Times:

2/28/15 - Saturday

3:00 pm,

$12.50/General Admission

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