Skip to comments.Pompeii's Burial Not Its First Disaster
Posted on 12/02/2004 4:17:13 PM PST by blam
Pompeii's burial not its first disaster
From Denver, at a meeting of the Geological Society of America
Recent excavations reveal that the ancient city of Pompeii, famed for its burial by an eruption of Italy's Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, suffered through several devastating landslides in the centuries preceding its volcanic demise.
About three-fourths of Pompeii has been excavated, says Jean-Daniel Stanley of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. However, most of the digs in the city have extended down only to the ground level of dwellings that were standing in the 1st century. In the past couple of years, deeper digs in the oldest part of Pompeiias well as core drilling nearbyhave exposed layers of jumbled sediment that suggest that the city was hit by other natural disasters prior to the A.D. 79 eruption.
At least three different sheets of sediment lie atop lava bedrock beneath the city. Those strata include shards of pottery, animal bones, and bits of plants. Carbon dating of the plant fragments hints that the lowest layer was deposited in the 8th century B.C., soon after the city was founded, says Stanley. The other two layers, separated from other strata by well-developed soil layers or Roman pavements, were laid down in the 4th century B.C. and the 2nd century B.C.
The jumbled sediments probably represent landslide depositspossibly ones triggered by extended rainfall, says Stanley.
At least one of Pompeii's purported landslides, the one in the 4th century B.C., would have occurred when the local climate was wetter than average, notes Stanley.
This is all not so new news. I wonder why they are publicizing it. What's more interesting is the massive quake that pretty much reduced the city to rubble 10 years before the Vesuvian eruption. Many of the excavated remains show work in progress and repairs to buildings from the previous quake.
I found Ercolano, aka Herculaneum (on the other side of Vesuvio), to be a much more gratifying and interesting visit. Although a smaller city, the excavated remains are far superior (even some wooden beams remain). The pyrocolastic cloud from the eruption acted as good a preservative as a destroyer. The iron bars on some of the windows are remarkable. There are also many more frescos to see in Herculano because most of them have been removed/looted from Pompeii. Don't get me started on the floor mosaics.
The city of Akritori on the Greek Island of Santorini is also a remarkable "victim" of a volcanic eruption.
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Move Over, Pompeii"Since Nola is only 7.5 miles from the volcano, people probably did not have time to pack before the eruption, and left behind cooking utensils, drinking cups, hunting tools, a hat decorated with wild boars' teeth, and a pot waiting to be fired in the kiln... So far no human remains have been found at Nola -- only several footprints preserved in the mud -- but scholars believe the skeletons of a Bronze Age man and woman discovered nearby about five years ago may be associated with the prehistoric eruption as well."
by Jarrett A. Lobell
Volume 55 Number 2
A Grammar of Oscan and UmbrianThe grammar is called a Grammar of Oscan and Umbrian, not of the Oscan-Umbrian dialects, for it does not pretend to treat systematically the minor dialects included under the name Oscan-Umbrian. Most of the characteristics of these dialects (so far as they are clear) are mentioned incidentally, mainly in the Introduction. But to discuss or even mention all the questions arising in the attempt to generalize from material consisting of only a few lines, would require an amount of space not justified by the results. Unless the material from these minor dialects is notably increased, our knowledge of the Oscan-Umbrian group will be almost coincident with what we know of its two principal dialects. And in that approximate sense a grammar of Oscan and Umbrian is also a grammar of Oscan-Umbrian.
by Carl Darling Buck
In the 1300's Akritori was owned by a Jewish guy named Joseph Nazi.
Doesn't surprise me.
Didn't Herculaneum suffer more from lava than from ash--as did Pompii? Wouldn't ash be a better preservative?
I get most of my info from Nat'l Geographic-type sources, so I'm no expert.
I don't believe that any lava flows reached Herculaneum. The pyroclastic cloud pretty much scorched everything on it's way down. A pyroclastic cloud or flow is a mixture of ash, super hot gases, and earth. The gashes and ash usually ride on top of the other stuff down the side of the volcano at high rates of speed (100kmh). Some of the rock in the flow may be molten, but it probably cools pretty fast.
Mud was the preservative at Herculaneum. When it cooled it was nearly as hard as concrete which made it difficult to excavate. But the resulting finds were amazing.
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Move Over, Pompeii
Archaeology, Volume 55 Number 2 | March/April 2002 | Jarrett A. Lobell
Posted on 08/10/2004 1:03:10 PM EDT by SunkenCiv
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.
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