Pompeii Uncovered: From Daily Life to Disaster with Dr. Helena Meskanen

Pompeii Uncovered: From Daily Life to Disaster with Dr. Helena Meskanen


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Please note: this conversation will not be recorded. Access to a recording is not possible.

Recent archaeological work in Pompeii has offered us new information about the long history people in the city had with the looming volcano, still seen towering in the near distance. What was life like next to an active volcano? Who lived here, and what do we know about the everyday life in the city?

We will start our conversation with an exploration of life in the Roman city, through the lives of both the well-known and the anonymous inhabitants. Focusing on the house of Caecilius Iucundus, we will explore how the son of a freed slave ended up a wealthy banker with a beautifully decorated house. We will discuss what life was like in his house, and the streets surrounding it, with street food vendors, bakers, and industry all around.

Taking a walk from the house to visit one of the city’s bathhouses, Caecilius would have seen ongoing election campaign notices, imperial propaganda, and religious services. But then, in 62 AD, a warning came in the form of an earthquake. We will examine how the city and Caecilius’ household responded to it, not knowing what was to come. When the eruption finally happened in 79 AD, we have an eyewitness account and archaeological evidence to tell the tragic stories of those who perished. We will finish the conversation with a discussion of the current excavations and the various challenges it encounters. Vesuvius is still an active volcano, and the site requires preventative work against other natural and human-made challenges as well.

Led by an archaeologist with several years of experience excavating in southern Italy, Dr Helena Meskanen, this interactive seminar will offer a deep dive into life and disaster in Pompeii. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a greater sense of life in an ancient Roman city and their response to natural disasters.

Dr. Helena Meskanen is an archaeologist specializing in ancient Greece, with research focusing on ancient Spartan religion. She has been leading tours of the British Museum for 3 years and feels passionate about the wide range of objects on display, and the stories they tell about the museum and the cultures that created them.

Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 38 reviews
92%
(35)
8%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.C.
Excellent Overview, with New Material for Me

I visited Pompeii (and Herculaneum) in January 2020. Some of Dr. Meskanen's material was a refresher, but other parts of it were new to me (e.g., the house of Caecilius Iuncundus and the banking information found there).

I would recommend this talk to anyone with an interest in the subject matter. Dr. Meskanen's expertise brought the information to life.

M
M.

Guest did not leave comment

L
L.T.
Pompeii

Helena did an excellent presentation of life in Pompeii and its eventual destruction. She also offered follow up resources for those who are interested in pursuing further reading.

S
S.S.
So worthwhile, so much knowledge

Dr. Helen’s talk was so interesting informative. I could’ve listened for hours

M
M.C.
Pompeii

Dr Meskanen was able to take us into the daily life of Pompeii. Her presentation was outstanding!

Customer Reviews

Based on 38 reviews
92%
(35)
8%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.C.
Excellent Overview, with New Material for Me

I visited Pompeii (and Herculaneum) in January 2020. Some of Dr. Meskanen's material was a refresher, but other parts of it were new to me (e.g., the house of Caecilius Iuncundus and the banking information found there).

I would recommend this talk to anyone with an interest in the subject matter. Dr. Meskanen's expertise brought the information to life.

M
M.

Guest did not leave comment

L
L.T.
Pompeii

Helena did an excellent presentation of life in Pompeii and its eventual destruction. She also offered follow up resources for those who are interested in pursuing further reading.

S
S.S.
So worthwhile, so much knowledge

Dr. Helen’s talk was so interesting informative. I could’ve listened for hours

M
M.C.
Pompeii

Dr Meskanen was able to take us into the daily life of Pompeii. Her presentation was outstanding!