University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Pompeii Lecture Series: Life and Death in Herculaneum

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Film Description:Dr. Janet Monge, Curator-in-Charge, Physical Anthropology Section, speaks. On a hot summer day in the bustling Bay of Naples, Mt. Vesuvius exploded and rained down superheated gas and lava onto the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Some inhabitants of Herculaneum escaped into beach caves, which were used to store the boats for the heavy marine traffic into the cove bay. Their deaths by heat shock—instantly killing victims by vaporizing their soft tissues but preserving their hard, bony skeletons under layers of volcanic ash—affords a unique opportunity to study life and death among the ancient Romans, in ways that are truly unique in the study of the bioarchaeology of the ancient world.
Video Category:Lecture
Video Date:11/17/2013
Contributor: Janet Monge

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