The Secrets of Vesuvius

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Classical Age

The Secrets of Vesuvius (Time Quest)
Author: Bisel, Sara
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Time Period: Classical Age
Time Frame: 79
Geographic Area: Europe
Country: Italy (Ancient Rome)
Topics: Volcano, Natural Disasters, Archaeology
Genre: Non-Fiction
Reading Age: Middle Grade, Upper Middle Grade
Format: Picture Book, Chapter Book
Published: 1993

World History > Classical Age > Ancient Rome

By "reading" the bones of people killed by Mount Vesuvius, an anthropologist reconstructs their lives.

"The gods are punishing us!" wailed the people on the beach as torrents of fiery ash and rock rained down on them. Petronia clutched the baby close to her, and the kindly soldier shielded her with his cloak. Suddenly a terrifying blast made the ground tremble beneath their feet. They must find somewhere to hide from the volcano's fury...

The archaeologist carefully scraped the dirt away from the nearly 2,000-year-old skeleton lying on Herculaneum's ancient beachfront. When Sara Bisel knelt down for a closer look, she noticed a sword lying beside it. Could this be a Roman soldier, she wondered. Sara knew that if she listened carefully, these bones could tell her an amazing story...

Emily's Review

This book was what hooked me on history when I was around 9 or 10. I borrowed it from the library so many times, my parents bought me a copy to keep. I found the back and forth from the present-day archaeological site and excavation to the historical recreation of the day of the eruption in 79CE to be utterly captivating. What must it have been like to be trapped beneath an erupting volcano? How amazing that we can know so much just from examining their remains! Well written and fascinating, it's a shame this book is currently out of print.

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