The casts of those who unsuccesfully tried to escape from Vesuvius‘ eruption in AD 79 are always of interest to visitors to Pompeii. They offer an opportunity to study voyeurism and the human fascination of horror (see also Jennifer Wallace on this topic). The ‘Casts Project’ intend to do just that by inviting anyone to write on their personal reactions to the exhibition of these casts at Pompeii. Visit their blog if you wish to contribute. They also have a poll on their website: “Should we excavate the rest of Pompeii now or preserve it underground for future generations?” Personally, I’m convinced that as much as possible should be left alone until more efficient means of preservation have been developed. Already, some 75% of the site have been excavated, and it’s a sad sight indeed how many houses are in an advanced stage of deteriation at Pompeii (and Herculaneum).
The people behind the ‘Casts Project’ are also planning an interesting conference on “Ruins and Reconstructions: Pompeii in the Popular Imagination” at University of Bristol 17-19 July 2007 (Hat tip: RogueClassicism). The photo above was taken by me in the Pompeii forum depot in May 2005. More photos can be found here.