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Kristina Killgrove
University of West Florida (Pensacola, FL 32514-5750)
Death Comes to Oplontis: Recording and Analyzing Skeletons of Victims of Mt. Vesuvius (79 AD)

Analysis and digital preservation of 54 skeletons from the Roman town, Oplontis, destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., leading to the creation of digital models, datasets, a project website, and an interpretive article.

Numerous urban centers in the Bay of Naples were completely destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Pompeii and Herculaneum are the most famous of these, primarily because of the extent of excavation and the creation of plaster casts of dozens of dead bodies. Other areas were equally affected but are less understood, even today, because of their location underneath modern development. The villa complex of Oplontis is one of these. The 54 skeletons from Oplontis have been partially excavated, but they have never been conserved or analyzed. This project therefore has two goals: 1) to digitally preserve this cultural heritage through 3D scanning and photogrammetry; and 2) to create and publish a comparative database of key information from the skeletons themselves. This proposed research connects the dots between archaeological context, historical records, and physical bodies and invites the public to interact with this little-known Vesuvian site.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Archaeology; Biological Anthropology; Classics

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2017 – 7/31/2017