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Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii


Bodies from the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Illustrated in color and black-and-white with over 50 images, many of them rare and many from the photography archives of the Pompeii Archaeological Site. For ages 8 to adult. Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Schedule a School Visit with James M Deem


As the author of the award-winning Bodies from the Ash, I regularly visit schools and libraries to speak about Pompeii and give a PowerPoint presentation. My presentation includes many rare images that I discovered in the photographic archive at Pompeii during my research.


Speaking to the 5th and 6th grade at Charlotte Country Day School about Bodies from the the Ash


When speaking about Pompeii, I discuss what life was like in Pompeii before the famous eruption of AD 79. I describe the eruption of Vesuvius and its effect on the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. I explain what happened to Pompeii afterwards and why it remained buried for 1700 years. I describe how Pompeii was accidentally uncovered and the types of objects and remains that were found there. I explain how the rediscovery of Pompeii has enabled scientists and historians to understand better what life was like in ancient Rome times. 

Finally, I explain how the plaster casts were made and why they are some important. I also discuss some of the stories archaeologists have told about the casts and why (using critical thinking skills) they should often be discounted.


Talking about 'Bodies from the Ash' at North Birmingham (AL) Elementary School



To arrange a school visit, please contact James M. Deem.