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Life and death: Pompeii and Herculaneum

The British Museum's stunning new exhibition is a reminder that Italy must preserve its historic sites

By Jay Elwes  


The events of 79 AD are well known—Vesuvius, the volcano on the flanks of which is constructed the modern city of Naples, erupted, engulfing the ancient city of Pompeii and its smaller neighbour Herculaneum. The eruption was witnessed by Pliny the Younger who wrote in detail of the hideous darkness that descended, the screams of men and the cries of mothers and their children.

The British Museum has brought together a collection of artefacts, excavated from…

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