Pompeii was an ancient Roman city located in the modern commune of Pompeii near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was buried under 4 to 6 m of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in summer of AD 79. At the time of its destruction Pompeii supported between 10,000 and 20,000 inhabitants. Pompeii remained undiscovered for 1,500 years until it was discovered by a surveying engineer in 1748 and it is now the world’s largest archaeological site.
It is believed that about 2,000 people died in Pompeii buried under 8 to 9 feet pumice and ash. Excavations of Pompeii began accidentally in the 1777 when builders constructing a palace discovered the lost city. While digging they found the remains of a young woman and noticed they could clearly see the outline of the rest of her body in the ash that had encased her.Pompeii’s bodies had been covered in layers of fine ash that calcified over the centuries, forming a type of protective shell around their bodies. When the skin and tissue of these bodies eventually decayed, they left voids in the layer of ash around them with the exact shape of the victims forming plaster casts of their final moments.
Pompeii, with around of 11.000 to 20.000 inhabitants, had five large thermal baths and each bath could accommodate about 1.000 guests. Stabian thermal bath was the oldest bath in Pompeii and it was built at the end of the 4th century BC. The water supply and the heating system were constantly updated with the latest technique improvements. There were rooms with different water temperatures. The gentlemen rooms and ladies were separated. Bathing was very important for the Roman society. They were not used only to rest body and mind, but social relations were also developed in those baths.
Paintings from antiquity rarely survive but as the entire city was buried in volcanic ash the rich colors in the paintings in the houses and monuments were preserved for thousands of years until their rediscovery.