People, animals and art unearthed in Pompeii dig

Scribblings: Experts have found over 11,000 pieces of graffiti in Pompeii. © Alamy

Were the Ancient Romans just like us? Recent excavations have unearthed two more people frozen in time, taking shelter from the volcano that erupted above the city almost 2,000 years ago.

What’s happening

The two men ran through the streets. It was daytime, but the sky was black. Rocks and ash were everywhere.

Finally, they reached the stable, but it was too late. An avalanche of dust hit the wall. They lay down on the floor and closed their eyes. They would not be found for almost 2,000 years.

Find out more

People have been fascinated by Pompeii since first excavating it in 1748. It was a busy seaside Roman city, home to 20,000 people, until it was buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted.

As the ash covered the city, it also preserved everything: houses, shops, art and even people.

For over 300 years, modern archaeologists have slowly uncovered the city. The most recent dig found two men – one about 20 years old and the other around 40.

They were sheltering in a stable next to some horses. The animals were so well preserved that their harnesses were clearly visible.

Pompeii is unique because it is a snapshot of history. Visitors can see that the Romans had pets, dinner parties, went to pubs – and even scribbled graffiti.

Were they just like us?

Some say…

Yes! Life in Ancient Pompeii was very similar to life now. People went out to meet friends and went to school. They had dogs to keep them company. They would play games for entertainment and go out shopping. And when Vesuvius erupted, many of them sheltered in groups to look after each other. They were humans, just like us.

Others think…

No. They were not really like us at all. Romans kept slaves in their homes to work for them. They were always going to war. Boys were allowed to go to school, but girls had to stay at home. And while they had running water, they had none of the technology we have today. Their lives were so different that they couldn’t possibly be like us.

You Decide

  1. Would you rather spend a week in an Ancient Roman city or travel to the future?

Activities

  1. Imagine you live near a volcano. In pairs, write down five things you would do to prepare for an emergency. Share your ideas with the class.

Some People Say...

“History doesn't repeat Itself, but it often rhymes.”

Attributed to Mark Twain, American author

What do you think?

Word Watch

Avalanche
Usually, an avalanche is a large amount of snow that quickly moves down a slope. Here, it is not snow moving down the mountain but ash and rock from inside the hot volcano.
Excavating
Sometimes also known as a “dig” because archaeologists dig down to find historical objects.
Mount Vesuvius
Mount Vesuvius is a volcano. At the moment, it is dormant, which means it is not as active as it once was. But in 79AD when it erupted over Pompeii, the eruption was large enough to cover the city. It even changed the coastline. Today, Pompeii is no longer by the sea.
Preserved
Saved without being damaged. The word is used to describe jams because the sugar keeps the fruit safe from going mouldy.
Archaeologists
People who study history by looking at man-made objects and buildings from the past.
Two men
Experts believe the older man was a master sheltering from danger with his younger slave.
Harnesses
A set of straps fitted to a horse to make them easy to control by riders.
Graffiti
One of the most famous messages written on walls is “Lucius Pinxit”. It means “Lucius wrote this”, but could be translated to “Lucius was here”.

Subjects

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