On Wednesday, I attended the monthly CASARA Winnipeg exec meeting, where we got our training plan sorted out for the next year. Just have to make up the schedule now, which shouldn't take too long.
I took Friday off work to go down to see the Pompeii exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The exhibit was great, well worth the trip. They had dozens of artifacts from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and a couple of other towns that were affected by the volcano. The artifacts were divided into separate rooms, with each room having a different theme: necropolis items, merchant items, religious artifacts, daily life and residential items, and the body casts.
The most touching items are the body casts, of course. About two thousand people died in Pompeii, and in some cases, the ash buried the bodies, which then decomposed, leaving hollows. Archaeologists poured plaster into the hollows, making recognisable human forms. There are eight body casts in the exhibit, including a dog and a pig. One of the humans, presumable a slave, has shackles around his ankles.
Some of the other highlights are the various religious articles, the furnishings, and the coins and scales in the merchants area.
There was a replica of a shrine, something similar to which would have been in every home, with small statues of various gods called Lares. Besides the normal gods that Romans considered important, they also worshipped ancestors.
Pompeiian houses had no lights, so the atria had open ceilings with pools or fountains. The water drained into a storage tank for domestic use. The atrium was used to greet guests. If you were a friend, you might be invited further into the house, perhaps into the garden. The garden was walled, may have had a partly enclosed roof, and besides plants, also frequently held statues hidden amongst the plants. There were examples of frescoes, lamps, pots, and furniture.
There were several dozen coins on display, made of gold, silver, or bronze. There were also small scales, that merchants would have carried with them. Romans had standard measurements, and there was a defining sample of each measure held in a temple in Rome.
Finally, there was a timeline of the eruption. In 62 and 64, there were earthquakes that damaged some buildings, but apparently no one connected that with Vesuvius. Finally, the volcano blew in August 79. Starting early in the morning, ash buried the town to a depth of several feet. Most of the population evacuated, but many people couldn't get away, or chose to stay. The volcano erupted all day, but around 5 pm, the final blow was struck, with pyroclastic flow that included poison gas. Anyone in its path would have been killed. There was a second pyroclastic flow later in the evening. After the eruption stopped, some people returned to recover belongings or loot the place, but after that it was largely forgotten. Rediscovered in the 1800s, about 2/3 of the town has been excavated.
As well as the Pompeii exhibit, I also saw an IMAX movie on ancient Greece and walked around the other exhibits in the museum.
The movie was good, narrated by Nia Vardolos. It mostly focused on the island of Santorini, which held a city that was destroyed by an eruption sometime around 1500 BC. There was also quite a bit on Athens, with a nice computer recreation of the Parthenon and the forty foot high goddess Diana that it held.
The museum is quite large, at least twice the size of the Manitoba Museum. It's spread across several floors, a bit confusing to get around at first. There is a really good dinosaur and ancient mammal display, that includes a diplodicus and ancient crocodiles. There are quite a few mammals like rhinos, horses, and various cats. Elsewhere, there are also good displays of marshes, weather phenomena, astronomy, and just about anything else.
So pretty good trip. It was a lot of driving - I left at 8 pm Thursday evening, drove until around 2 am, stopped in a rest area and slept for a while, then drove again from about 6 to 9, more or less. The drive back was a little easier, only stopped for customs, and took about eight hours, arriving in Winnipeg just before midnight. The only downside was the bizarre reception by US customs. Americans are just too paranoid. The guy even had me open my trunk (the second time I've had to do that). He checked a military rucksack I have in the trunk, even asked me what was in it. Seriously, what are these guys, the nerd police?
Check ride prep.
1 day ago