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Unfortunately, as in the case of the Greeks, the great masterpieces of ancient painting no longer exist; but we can learn much from the mural paintings found in houses at Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Rome.

Pompeii tips for getting the most out of your visit YouTube Pompeii and Herculaneum

Both sites have stunning examples of frescoes and no article about Pompeii is complete without a mention of its more suggestive themes! From the erotic art on the walls of the brothels to the well-endowed figure of Priapus, ancient Roman art has shocked archaeologists and visitors over the years. Nowadays the frescoes at both sites are impressive simply for their clarity of colour and detail. If you’re bringing young children with you, however, make sure you know what to expect!

Visiting the ancient wonders of Pompeii and Herculaneum - Th

( Pompeii and Herculaneum).

The earth crust is made up of a number of plates that sit on a sea of lava beneath. At some places on the crust, lava, ash, smoke etc breaks through and the result is volcanic eruptions. Sometimes the eruption is so violent that it destroys living things that are near it. The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. In 1883, the catastrophic explosion of Krakatoa off the west coast of Java generated tsunamis that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia. In 2004, underwater volcanic eruptions in the Indian Ocean caused tsunamis that again killed hundreds of thousands living nearby.

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Surely one excavated ruin is enough?? Pompeii and Herculaneum are different experiences because of the way they were buried in Vesuvio’s 79AD eruption. Pompeii was destroyed through immense heat which incinerated everything in its path. It is perhaps most famous for plaster casts of its fleeing inhabitants, many of which are now to be found in the Naples Archeological Museum (also well worth a visit). Some casts are still to be found at the original site and are a haunting reminder of the human cost. Herculaneum was buried under the pyroclastic flow of burning ash particles meaning that whole houses, wooden roof beams and even furniture and papers survived. Over the intervening centuries, the sea has moved further away but Herculaneum was on the coast and the remains of skeletons have been found huddled under the arches of the boatyard, each telling their own story through their possessions and family groupings.

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Mount Vesuvius, a , erupted in AD79 and killed thousands of people in the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.Archaeologists have discovered hollows in the volcanic ash where the victims' bodies fell and eventually decayed. They have filled these cavities with plaster to see the outline of their final resting places.For many years it was assumed that killed the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but volcanologists later discovered it was something far more deadly. Learn more about Mount Vesuvius and its historic eruption with the videos below.Image: A plaster cast of a Roman Vesuvius victim in Pompeii (inset); A computer-generated graphic of the eruption (main image)Inset image credit: Science Photo Library

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Mau, a German scholar, established four distinct styles of Roman wall painting at the sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Boscoreal, and other smaller sites covered with ash from the volcanic eruption at Mount Vesuvius.