Cities of Vesuvius

Designed by Elizabeth Graham

Pompeii and Herculaneum                                     

  A Question of Geography

Using the map  below, look at the position of Pompeii within the region.

1. What natural features would have contributed to its growth ?

2. What other locational factors would have influenced its growth and character ?

3. How is Herculaneum different?

Stages of Occupation ppt






  Events of 79AD

Eruption of 79 ppt

Click on the websites and answer the following questions;

1. What is a pyroclastic flow and surge?

2. Give a definition of " nuee ardente "

3. What information has been added  to our understanding by more recent eruptions

4. Outline the theoretical stages of the eruption.

5. Click on the following link and make notes on what depositional evidence was found by Sigurdsson. Note the significant differences between Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Sigurdsson had been assigned by National Geographic to match stratigraphic evidence with the observations made by Pliny. As evidence, why is this problematic


               The Written Evidence

Click on the website below. Search the Ancient sources;


1. What light does Seneca, Tacitus and Dio Cassius shed on ancient understanding of volcanoes? How does this explain the initial human response to the eruption ?  

2.Read Pliny's First letter to Tacitus. What limitations might this have as a source of evidence? What evidence is there of Pliny's attempt to eulogize his uncle ?

3. What route did Pliny the Elder take ? Why was he forced to change direction ?

4 What physical observations does Pliny make about the stages of the eruption?

5. What other observations does Pliny make that cannot be gauged by archaeological evidence?

6.Assess the value of Pliny's letters as evidence


  From Treasure Seeking to Scientific Investigation- The History of Excavation

Click on;

Go to History of Excavation. Construct a table under the following headings; Period ;Archaeologists; Area of Excavation ;and Nature of Excavation

Construct a similar table for Herculaneum.

With reference to the above table;

1. How did the approach to excavation change over the periods of time.?

2. What differences were there between the two towns and suggest reasons for this?

  " Dead Men Do Tell Tales "


1.Read the following sources and explain the significance of forensic archaeology in revealing not only the people of Pompeii but the circumstances of their death.

2.Choose 1 individual whose remains were  discovered from Pompeii and Herculaneum. Give a detailed description of them. Make note of what artifacts were found with them. What information does this add ?

3.What controversy exists about the sort of people left behind.? Has forensic evidence provided the answer.

4. What was the difference between the way people died in Pompeii and Herculaneum

5. What new interpretation of Pompeii and Herculaneum have come to light from forensic Evidence


  The Urban Environment - Public and Private Spaces

View the power point presentation and construct a mind map which explores the nature of urban planning in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Make observation about not only the nature and function of buildings but, street width and patterns, drainage, architecture, and zonal use. Make note of any differences between the two towns.

  Using the mind map as a source and with specific reference to archaeological evidence answer the following question in 250 words;

What was the function of the Forum in the civic life of Pompeii ?






Living in Pompeii and Herculaneum- Houses of the Rich and Poor.

Click on the following website and copy and label the plan of a typical Atrium house.

Go to the following link and view the power point presentation. Make a series of dot points about the different types of Housing in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Is there any difference between the two towns ?


Using the suggested references below , research one house of Pompeii or Herculaneum in detail. Include a detailed description of the house, when it was excavated, what contents were found there and who may have possibly lived there. What information does this house give us about the lives of the people.

  • Descoudres, J.P - Pompeii Revisited

  • Deiss, JJ- Herculaneum; Italy's Buried Treasure

  • Wallice- Hadrill, A- Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum




         Producers and Consumers- Economic Life.

Click on the link below and view the power point presentation. Construct a table showing types of industry and the associated archaeological evidence.




Click on the following website and make notes on current fieldwork and what it reveals about economic life in Pompeii.


What was different about Herculaneum? Since only 30% of Herculaneum has been excavated , how definite can we be about the nature of the town?


          Gods and Godesses


Using the above link and with reference to the article " Private Religion " ;

Construct a pyramid showing the hierarchy of gods worshipped by the Romans.

Religion was a popular theme by artists and sculpters. Find examples of each level of religious worship from either Pompeii or Herculaneum

Suggest reasons why Romans were receptive to the introduction of foreign cults. Answer this question with reference to the role that religion plays in a society.









      Frescoes Murals and Mosaics   

View the power point presentation making notes about the different types of art that has been revealed

Graffiti- Walls have voices

Click on the link below. Study the different inscriptions from the walls of Pompeii and Herculaneum. and complete the questions




Assessment Task

With reference to four pieces of archaeological evidence, explain their significance in providing a picture of Roman Provincial life in 1st century AD


             Entertainment and Leisure

Take the plunge and click on the following links;

1. With reference to archaeological evidence assess the importance of the baths to the daily life of the inhabitants.

2. What does archaeology reveal about other forms of entertainment?


   " Picking Up the Pieces "- Conservation and Management

Click on the following websites and read about the problems of modern day Pompeii



1. Outline the major issues facing management?

2. What impact has tourism had on the sites and what is being done to minimize the negative impact?

3. What ethical issues face archaeologists today?

4. In groups, representing a team of archaeologists, managers, financial and marketing consultants prepare a tender for the management of the two sites. Outline your individual and collective strategies and present as a power point.