halo 發問於 教育及參考書教學 · 1 十年前





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  • 1 十年前


    About: Secrets of Vesuvius


    The Secrets of Vesuvius is a beautiful and informative book published after major new finds in Herculaneum. It is fictitious, but based around the excavations in 1982 that unearthed several bodies in what had been the shore line and boat chambers on the ancient beachfront. These were the sources of the author/excavator's story.

    The Secrets of Vesuvius weaves a fictional story of a wealthy woman who was planning a spectacular dinner that the eruption cancelled. The entire story centers around a slave girl who was sent to market to shop for her mistress' party. While there, she sees a haggard woman who is proclaiming that the gods were about to bring punishment to the town, that the wells were running dry and the sea was boiling. The slave girl dismisses the woman; she needs to return home before the family's baby awakens. Her mistress will be angry if she is not there at the appropriate time.

    At home she learns that rumors of a possible danger from Vesuvius were sending many back to Rome. Her mistress sends her to the homes of her prospective guests to inform them that the party will be moved up to the following day. By moving the day of the party, she hopes that people will remain just one day to enjoy all the preparations that were being made.

    When the slave girl awakens the following day, her mouth is still sore from the two rotten teeth the cook pulled the previous day. Then she notices a new crack in the wall. It is not going to be a good day. Then her mistress sends her to the gem cutter to collect a necklace that was created for her. The gem cutter's son is ill. The slave girl visits with him.

    Arriving back at home with the jewel, she finds the baby crying. Suddenly the house begins to shake. The master declares they must go to Rome immediately. The mistress, however, does not want to leave her treasures so she begins to collect several items and orders the slaves to do the same. The sky turns dark, the stench of sulfur fills the air and all begin to run towards the waterfront. The story ends.

    This was the story the bones told one archaeologist as she slowly uncovered them from their 1900 year old tomb. The skeleton of a women whose bones were contorted indicated she may have fallen from a terrace that had been above her. Measuring her bones, she was about 5'1" and about 48 years old with buckteeth. There was considerable lead in her bones, perhaps from drinking cheap wine that had been boiled down in lead pots. Another female skeleton, found with jewelry, was near her. She was about 45 yrs. old, the model for the mistress seeking to flee with her jewels. A man was found face down. He was perhaps a soldier since a sword was found in his belt. In the story our slave girl meets a soldier who aids her while she is on her errands. He was tall for a Roman, about 5'8". (Perhaps he was not a Roman? We don't know.) He had had a blood clot on his knee, probably the result of a war wound. He was also missing his front teeth! Inside the boat chamber, the author found a group of bones, all tangled as if they were clinging together during the disaster.

    A bit deeper into the chamber was the skeleton of a small girl laying on top of a baby. She was the model for the slave girl. It was determined they were not mother and child because the girl's skeleton indicated she was not old enough to have had children. Small ornaments were found near the baby indicating that the baby was from a wealthy family. The girl had evidence of poor teeth indicating she had had a bad diet* (ergo the idea arose that she was a slave and not the sister to the baby). She had had two teeth removed about 1 or 2 weeks prior to the eruptions.

    From these and many other findings the author wove the story. It is an interesting tale. I invite you to check your local library to find it.