A tour of Pompeii wouldn't be complete without the plaster moulds.
When the earthquake begain in 79 AD, most Pompeiians didn't pay attention.
Pompeii was 7km away from Vesuvius and there were frequent tremors, so many just ignored it.
When the volcano erupted however, a column of ash shot 33km into the sky - its power equivalent to 100,000 nuclear bombs.
A dense wave of volcanic matter and gas flowed down the mountain.
Small rocks (pumice) poured over the city.
The majority of Pompeiians fled but those who remained died as the wave of hot ash approached, their organs pulverised by heat which reached up to 300 degree Celsius.
They were then covered in mud and ash.
The eruption killed 2,000 people - 10% of the city's population.
Pliny the Younger was 17 and living across the bay when he witnessed the eruption.
He describes "a very tall trunk, which spread itself out at the top into a sort of branches... buildings shaking with violent shocks... the danger of falling pumice stones... broad sheets of flame lighting up many parts of Vesuvius... they were still in darkness, blacker and denser than any ordinary night".
His uncle, a famous Roman admiral, sailed over to help evacuate the city. However he never made it back.
The city was buried for over 1,600 years.
When it was finally excavated, archeologists realised that some gaps in the ash had been left by the imprint of human bodies.
They injected plaster into these gaps - creating the plaster casts we can see today.
The most famous include :
- a dog at the Olitorium market
- a bather in the Stabian Baths
- 9 people sheltering in the Garden of the Fugitives
The Vesuvius erupted many times since and is expected to erupt again soon.
3 million people currently live in the area.
It is one of the most densely populated volcanic regions in the world.
That's it for our tour of Pompeii! We hope you enjoyed it!
Please share it with art lovers you think might be interested.
We recommend trying out the Palace of Versailles next!