Who made the plaster casts at Pompeii?

Be transported back in time at the ancient crumbling ruins of the city Pompeii. Tragically destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Causing over 20,000 deaths and covering the city in a thick carpet of volcanic ash.

The History of Pompeii

Pompeii was a rich city, known as one of the top holiday destinations for Romans. It was influenced by the Greeks in the 8th century B.C. which caused its success. Its paved streets are lined with luxurious shops, stylish brothels, and communal trading areas. After the destruction of Pompeii, the city was hidden from the outside world, slowing fading from minds. The city’s rediscovery began in 1599, with hundreds of Archaeologists from all over the world flocking in to study the ancient world. They unearthed artefacts, buildings, as well as human remains.

How are the Body Casts Formed?

During the eruption, the bodies of the people were burnt by the scorching volcanic rain and eventually were covered in a thick layer of compacted ash and dirt. The physical bodies decayed over time, which soon just left the voids in the compressed ash. Leaving hollowed out structures that were perfect negatives of the people within. When the archaeologist discovers these negatives, they began to create the plaster casts. In 1860, Pompeii’s director of excavations, Giuseppe Fiorelli, started the plaster cast development. By carefully pouring plaster into the negative spaces of the skeletons, the figures came to life. These plaster structures gave us a glimpse of the eerie final moments of each individual during this tragic destruction.

Why did the project end?

Although these incredible pieces are well worth the attempt, the process was eventually terminated. This was due to the plaster damaging the remains of the humans, which resulted in no new plasters, as well as the restoration of older plasters. While there may not be any new faces in the display cabinets, these casts are worthwhile to see. The figures of adults, children, and even animals give you a better understanding of just what these individuals went through in their final hour.

Where to see them?

The best place to see these fantastic casts is in Naples. It is the closest large city to the volcano, Mount Vesuvius and the ancient city of Pompeii. The cast was moved here to further preserve them, held at the National Archaeological Museum, listed as the best museum in the country. No trip to Pompeii is complete without a viewing of these casts.

Check out our Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius Tour today!