The Last Days of Pompeii | Coming Soon
2000 years ago the entire Roman city of Pompeii was buried alive in a huge volcanic eruption. Pompeii’s Final Hours: New Evidence is the three part documentary series which presents a countdown through the final days of life in Pompeii and how new archaeological digs and technologies are revealing previously unknown secrets about the people hidden beneath the ash.
Historian Dr Bettany Hughes (Genius of the Modern World, Britain’s Secret History), Archaeologist Raksha Dave (Time Team) and John Sergeant (Britain’s Secret Treasures) explore what life was like in the final hours of the doomed city of Pompeii – counting down day-by-day to the eruption itself. Spanning the entire ruined city and the surrounding areas, they follow new digs, stepping into the best preserved Roman sites, following the human remains as they are analysed, and visiting the volcano itself.
The three episodes explore a wide range of different themes to evoke daily life in Pompeii exactly as it would have been in the run up to the eruption such as work, leisure, food, shopping, interior design, money, politics, and architecture. The series reveals how every aspect of this bustling Roman port worked; all set against the tense backdrop of a ticking volcanic time bomb.
Each episode profiles key characters who lived in the final days of Pompeii. From a gladiator to businessman to humble bar owner. Their final hours in Pompeii are pieced together in unprecedented detail by combining geological, historical and archaeological evidence.
We begin our story on 22nd October 79AD. In just two days time Pompeii will be destroyed and everyone left in the city will be dead. Our team of presenters, esteemed Historian Bettany Hughes, experienced Archaeologist Raksha Dave and Award-Winning reporter John Serjeant work to dramatically piece together, hour-by-hour, the final days of the doomed city.
With extraordinary access to some of the most remarkable parts of Pompeii, many not open to the public and some never before shown on TV they bring us amazing new discoveries about the people who lived and died there. Incredibly we gain permission to take some of Pompeii’s most famous victims out of city to a hospital, where for the first time ever they’ll be forensically scanned. Raksha joins a live dig unearthing fresh new discoveries. And John Serjeant visits nearby Naples finding out for himself exactly how the Roman way of life has survived for 2000 years.
Our trio of presenters picks up the story on the eve of the eruption itself. In the first episode we found out how the city had been shaken by violent earth tremors but that it was unlikely the people of Pompeii knew they were related to an imminent and devastating volcanic eruption.
To find out more Bettany Hughes investigates whether Pompeii’s incredibly preserved bath houses and complex water system hold any clues as to exactly what was happening on the day leading up to the eruption. Meanwhile John Serjeant dives under the streets of modern day Naples to find the extraordinary remains of one of the wonders of the Ancient World – the Aqua Augusta. And Raksha climbs down in to the crater of Vesuvius itself to see for herself what the Volcano would have been doing in those fateful moments before the eruption.
For two days, Vesuvius, a volcano that had lain dormant for 700 years, has been reawakening. Increasingly intense earth tremors have been rocking the town of Pompeii, disrupting the water supply and prompting many to flee. But today the volcano unleashes its full horror on the town below, killing everyone who remains in the town.
Historian Bettany Hughes pieces together the timeline and tries to find out why so many stayed behind as the pumice begins to fall and buildings start collapsing. Meanwhile John Serjeant recreates an epic rescue mission across the Bay of Naples as he retraces the route of Pliny the Elder who tried in vain to get his fleet to Pompeii to pick up survivors before it was too late. Raksha Dave attempts to solve the mystery of 2 skeletons found in Pompeii long thought to be husband and wife.