Pompeii and the Cities of Vesuvius

In C.E. 79, cities, villas, and farms around the Bay of Naples were buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. These sites, including Pompeii and Herculaneum, were rediscovered in the 1700s, and offer archaeologists and historians an unparalleled range of evidence for life in the Roman world. In a field of study where we so often focus on the monumental, these important sites give us the rare opportunity to focus on the mundane, day-to-day experiences of ancient people. In this course, we examine a broad range of material uncovered from these Vesuvian sites, including graffiti, art, architecture, personal objects, infrastructure, bioarchaeological remains, and public and private spaces. We discuss how and why we can marshal these data to better understand how individuals lived and died in the ancient Roman world. We also explore the importance of these sites in the history and development of archaeological methodologies and the discipline of archaeology itself.

Last taught: Fall 2017 at Pitzer College

Resources: Syllabus | Schedule

Special thanks to Catherine Baker, Michelle Berenfeld, Allison Emmerson for sharing materials that helped me develop Pompeii and the Cities of Vesuvius.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for access to additional resources pertaining to this course.