3D Video Brings Pompeii Banker's Life Back into Focus

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October 10, 2016

Remembrances of a banker who lost his life and his livelihood in the volanic ash of Mount Vesuvius are accessible, thanks to digital reconstruction of the house in which the banker lived.

Archaeologists on the Swedish Pompeii Project have been working for a decade and a half on a project to document in painstaking detail what a city block in the ruined city of Pompeii would have been like. The block, known as Insula V1, contained a bakery, a laundry, a tavern, a few gardens, and three very large estates (and one of those estates belonged to a banker).

The archaeologists found, among other things, that the taps to a fountain in one of the gardens were on at the time of the volcanic eruption and that the volcanic ash had frozen the running water solid. As well, one of the shops still had intact three windows, made of gypsum.

The reconstruction has combined traditional excavation practices and more technologically advanced methods, including drome imaging and laser scanning. The result is a 3D model that approximates for viewers today what life was like in A.D. 79, when the volcano erupted, flooding the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in toxic ash.

The banker in focus was a man named Lucius Caecilius Iucundus (left), who lived in Pompeii from 20 to 62. The Vesuvius eruption partially destroyed his house, which has proved a popular focus for archaeologists since the 18th Century.

Previous digs have found in his home wax tablets in a preserved wooden chest. From studying the writings on the tablets, archaeologists have surmised that Iucundus was involved in auctioning of property, including slaves. The records found in his house date to February 4, 62, which is a day before another earthquake hit Pompeii; and historians have concluded that he died in that earthquake. His house, however, carried on.

The archaeologists, who are from Lund University, have also crafted a video tour of the city block.

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