Resurrecting Pompeii cuts to the bones of archaeological research

8 September 2009

A groundbreaking new book by Dr Estelle Lazer, archaeologist and honorary research associate, with the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at The University of Sydney, will be launched at the Nicholson Museum within the University on Tuesday, 15th of September.

Resurrecting Pompeii, published by Routledge, discusses the wealth of information that can be gained from looking at the skeletal remains of victims of the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii provides a unique insight into Roman life, providing a snapshot of a range of different Roman socioeconomic strata all captured at the same instant when the eruption occurred.

Although Pompeii has been continuously excavated and studied since 1748, early scholars were seduced by the more glamorous artefacts and wall paintings yielded by the site. The less attractive evidence, the bones, was largely ignored. This has meant that until Dr Lazer's work there had not been a systematic study into the wealth of victim profiling information that can be gathered from studying bones. Information that can be obtained from bones includes sex, age at death, general health and height and population affinities.

Dr Lazer utilises her extensive experience in forensic archaeology to put together a more complete picture of life in ancient Pompeii than ever before recorded. Her book explores the last days of Pompeii and the lead up to the mass disaster as well as a detailed look at victims.

Dr Lazer will deliver a brief lecture on Pompeii, titled 'Romancing the Bones' as part of her book launch. The launch will take place at the Nicholson Museum, a perfect location for such a talk with the current exhibition titled 'Classical Fantasies' providing a perfect backdrop.

Dr Lazer is working within Architectural Science on identifying sustainable design practices and techniques from Ancient Roman architecture that can be applied to modern building design.

The launch commences at 6.00pm, on Tuesday, 15th of September. To attend the event please contact Julia Wilson on 9351 5906.

Contact: John Elliott

Phone: 02 9351 7591

Email: 2e672e19032a36322725343f5205193c00002a61371d06491b0c