At the end of October 79 AD, Pompeii fell under lava with a great disaster. A large active volcano just 8 kilometers from the thriving resort town. Mount VesuviusFinally, the threats it had spread for fifteen years became reality and exploded, filling the nearby area with a deadly cloud of superheated gas, molten rock, and hot ash.
Today, Pompeii stands out as a huge touristic archeology center that attracts approximately 2.5 million visitors to the ancient city every year. One of the most attractive features of this region is that when the volcano erupts, the poor people who were caught too unprepared to escape their gruesome fate. are the famous “stone” bodies.
However, contrary to popular belief, these famous bodies are not actually petrified human bodies. While the image of hot, molten rock leading the inhabitants of the old city to their deaths, then cooling down and turning their victims into timeless stone replicas of themselves, is undoubtedly a chilling image, the reality is somewhat different, and indeed, If you had visited the archaeological site before the 1800s, you would not have seen those bodies..
Professor of Classics at Cambridge University Mary BeardIn an article he wrote for BBC Magazine in 2012, “The truth is they are not actually human bodies” he said and added: “They are the product of a clever archaeological mastery that dates back to the 1860s.”
Stone bodies of Pompeii, not real human bodies
Excavations at Pompeii date back to the late 16th century, but the Pompeii we know today is the archaeologist. Joseph FiorelliIt began to take shape in a later period under the rule of . As these 19th-century diggers made their way through the layers of rubble and ash that covered the area, they began to notice something strange: In some places there were distinct pits and cavities containing human remains.
Not really the ashy models we’re used to seeing today, but the lava of a once poor victim’s shape to cool around their corpse. gaps it keeps open long enough They were the true “bodies” of the citizens of Pompeii.
Beard, “Material from the volcano covered the bodies of the dead, forming a hard and rigid structure around them.” he wrote and continued: “As the flesh, viscera, and clothing slowly decomposed, a void remained—an exact negative trace of the shape of the corpse at the point of death. With a brilliant idea, it didn’t take long to figure out that when you pour a plaster of Paris into that space, you’ll end up with a plaster model that’s exactly the same as the body. But these are just a replica – an ‘anti-body’ rather than a real body.”
University of Naples anthropologist Pier Paolo Petronein a 2017 interview with History and Archeology Online, said that the methods used in modern excavations have been slightly updated: “These days we are better able to use X-ray techniques such as 3D-CT scanning to investigate the human content of plaster casts.”
But for the most part, new castings are made in a way that’s almost identical to the first set in the 1860s, Petrone says. Although a clear epoxy resin may be used in place of gypsum in rare cases, the traditional mix “remains the best to get perfect replicas of the victim’s bodies” says.
In short, the petrified bodies that are Pompeii’s most famous attraction today are not actually the real inhabitants of the city. In fact, they are not such an exceptional object today. As the technique used to create these figures is reusable, we can “make each body as much as we want”.our cloning” possible.
In addition, many of these models (and the excavation site itself) were severely damaged, particularly due to external influences such as World War II, when the area was the target of more than 160 bombs. Beard, “Pieces of what we’re seeing now is a remake of the remake” he says and continues: “I am not accusing anyone of fraud. I mean, our Pompeii – like most classical sites indeed – is a product of a collaboration between modern rebuilders and conservators and the original Roman builders, and most of the work is on our side.”