Charity Ref. 400/379/98
Spire U3A held their Christmas Party in their usual venue of Harnham Memorial Hall in December. The Poetry group read work from poets who most members had heard of and this was followed by a group of musicians. They meet to 'Make Simple Music' and were led by Malcolm Simmons. They provided the complement to the members Christmas singing. The rest of the morning was filled by an opportunity to chat with others and enjoy the festive food and drink.
The first meeting of 2007 took place on January 8th and the speaker was Dr Denise Allen. Her talk was on Pompeii and the area of the Bay of Naples. She told us that it was the most visited of the world's ancient sites. It was a popular area for the rich and their holiday houses were full of expensive fittings when the volcano erupted in AD 79. This preserved everything under a mountain of ash.
There have been Digs there for 300 years and when a site for a shopping centre was dug out they found Bronze Age huts and artefacts preserved in the ash from an earlier eruption.
Dr Allen went on to explain how remains in the digs have led to a greater knowledge of what happened on the 24th of August at 1pm when Vesuvius began erupted. The inhabitants would not have known why ash was falling like rain and rushed to their houses to take cover. Those further away would see the ash falling and escape only to be buried twelve hours later when there was a surge travelling at 500 miles an hour and killing all of those instantly, the second surge covered three storey houses. By the attitude bodies have been found in tells this horrific story. Everyone enjoyed the talk and some took leaflets on visits to various Archaeology sites, some of which Dr Allen leads.
Denise made reference to the Villa of the Papyri and an interesting web site about the effort to read the burnt scrolls is to found here
Another site from the Scotsman in 2003 describes the ongoing efforts very well. See here
Villa of the Papyri.