Pliny the Younger described how the inhabitants of these cities experienced the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD. Now, the exhibition “The last hours of Pompeii and Herculaneum” in the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya-Empuries in l’Escala (Catalonia) enables visitors to relive it. The exhibition comes from Italy where historians, archaeologists and volcanologists, after years of studies, have reconstructed buildings from Pompeii, Herculaneum, Baiae, Stabiae and Capri. Through the latest technologies such as scenographic reconstructions, multisensorial effects, 3D technology, holograms and interactive systems, visitors can see the Nymphaeum of Baia or the theatre of Herculaneum, the first building discovered in the city 300 years ago which is still under a 20 metre volcanic layer. The exhibition will be open until 9th September.
The virtual exhibition allows visitors to learn about the details and the archaeological heritage of Pompeii and Herculaneum before and after the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79AD when the landscape and the area changed. Some of the buildings reconstructed are: the Nymphaeum of Baia (currently submerged under 7 metres ), the Forum of Pompeii and the Central Baths.
Latest technology for the virtual reconstruction
The use of the latest technology allows visitors to discover the mosaics of the Faun’s House. It was one of the most important luxurious residences of the Roman age that has been preserved to this day, and it shows the great wealth of the Roman noble class in the 1st century AD. There is a projection that shows the details of the house such as the tablinum, the large dining-room, the first garden and the exedra with mosaic. The exhibition also has a 15 minute 3D documentary which visually narrates the moment of the explosion of the volcano. Using the voice of the Vesuvius, the volcano explains visually the process in the first person.
An interdisciplinary work of 12 years
The exhibition is the result of a project that started in 2000 where archaeologists, historians and volcanologists have studied the remnants. This is the scientific basis of the exhibition produced by the Museo Archeologico Virtuale di Ercolano which has applied the most cutting-edge technologies to cultural heritage in Italy.
What it is seen in Empúries (l’Escala) is a small part of the whole exhibition. It is based in 13 different spaces and 50 technical facilities through which the life, traditions, culture and literature of Pompeii, Herculeum, Baiae, Stabiae and Capri are explained.
The director of the Museo Archeologico Virtuale di Ercolano, Cio Cacciola, has said that this is a “nomadic exhibition” with an itinerant nature the purpose of which is to didactically transmit the prettiness of archaeology. They want people to be passionate about archaeology.
By now, the exhibition has been visited by 100,000 people and this is the first time that it is in a European city after its travel to Chile. It is expected it will be in Barcelona by autumn.
A new area to work on for the MAC
The director of Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya-Empuries, Marta Santos, said that this is an “interesting proposal” which “complements” their activities and the Ruins where there is also a Forum and the Baths. The director of the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya (MAC), Xavier Llobera, explained that this exhibition begins a new phase where visitors stop being passive and interact with the content.