The ancient city of Pompeii was home to about 20,000 Romans, who were said to have become so accustomed to the region’s frequent earthquakes that the tremors ceased to be alarming. In 62 C.E., a big quake and subsequent fires struck the city (sound familiar?), but with no knowledge of modern seismology, the residents had no idea it was an ominous signal that Mount Vesuvius was to erupt 17 years later. The explosion sent extreme heat and ash across the region. Pompeii and the neighboring city of Herculaneum, among others, were obliterated. Excavation began in the mid-1700s, sparking a wave of popular interest in Roman history, and Pompeii has remained a source of academic intrigue because of the remarkably well preserved snapshots of Roman life found there. This weekend, Bay Area academics... More >>>