Restoration work has begun on the plaster casts of 86 Pompeii victims. The poignant relics were created in the mid 19th century around the preserved remains of men, women and children killed during the 79AD disaster when Mount Vesuvius erupted, destroying the Roman city. They offer a fascinating and deeply moving insight into how quickly the tragedy occurred, with some of the body shapes cowering with arms outstretched in terror. The restorations are being carried out to prepare the casts for a forthcoming exhibition entitled Pompeii And Europe. “It can be very moving handling these remains when we apply the plaster,” said Stefania Giudice, a conservator from the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. “Even though it happened 2,000 years ago, it could be a boy, a mother or a family. It’s human archaeology, not just archaeology.” Between 10,000 and 25,000 people are believed to have died during the Vesuvius eruption, many of them at Pompeii. The site was fully rediscovered in 1748 and has been a major tourist destination ever since.
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