Most people know about Pompeii, the city that was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Starting Friday at Discovery Times Square, more than 250 artifacts from one of the world’s most devastating tragedies goes on display.
But what’s amazing about “Pompeii” as a historical exhibit is how much the remnants capture life in the city.
“Because everything was preserved, it was a wonderful way to realize not only how different things were back then, but how similar they are to today,” said Kristin Romey, curatorial consultant for Discovery Times Square.
Experience the explosion
When you walk through the exhibit, you’ll reach a room where you can experience what it was like to be in Pompeii during the eruption. A movie plays while the room reacts, with flashing lights, a massive rumbling and smoke.
Cast of a guard dog
While the bodies of the victims no longer exist, casts could be made from the spaces left behind in the lava that solidified around them. “Usually when you think about ancient history, you go into a museum … and there’s a big white statue of somebody. It’s really kind of hard to make a human connection,” Romey said. “But when you look at these body casts … it’s life, and it really resonates with you. You feel something deep inside you. These were people who had hopes and fears and dreams.”
Gladiators likely wore this bronze helmet — which in its day would have been topped off with feathers or horsehair — in parades. The wearer would have had a shield and arm and leg protection as well. Also in this picture, you can see two pairs of dice. The pair in front is loaded — even back then, there were cheaters.
Panel depicting the AD 62 earthquake
This is a relief panel from a household shrine in Pompeii
that shows the damage caused by a devastating earthquake — estimated to be about 7.5 on the Richter scale — some 16 years before Vesuvius erupted.
Statue of a hand holding Sabazius
The ornate bronze statue shows Sabazius, god of fertility, with various regeneration symbols: a pine cone, snake, bird and nursing mother. This is one of many beautiful statues featured in the exhibit that were dedicated to different gods.
If you go: “Pompeii: The Exhibit — Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius” runs through Sept. 5 at Discovery Times Square, 226 W. 44th St. Go to discoverytsx.com for more information.