An immersive digital exhibition on Pompeii has now opened at the Grand Palais in Paris. "Pompeii" was originally due to open in March but was deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it places visitors in the historic site just hours before Vesuvius’ eruption, using 3D imagery to present recreations of both the ancient city and the modern archaeological site.

The Réunion des Musées Nationaux - Grand Palais joined forces with the Pompeii Archaeological Park and the company GEDEON Programs to offer visitors a new kind of experience. Advanced technologies deployed include laser mapping, drone photography, thermography, infrared imagery and photogrammetry to provide extremely precise 3D reconstructions. The digital experience is accompanied by city sounds and original music designed to awaken the senses, and it immerses visitors in the heart of Pompeii, giving them the impression of taking part in the hectic life of the city, its fatal destiny and glorious rediscovery.

The exhibition begins by showing the regular bustling life of the streets before the eruption, reconstructed in 3D principally from the shots taken by drones. It continues to take visitors to the heart of the drama and follows the chronology of the disaster: at the height of the eruption the entire exhibition is invaded by the pyroclastic flow. The next part is devoted to the rediscovery of the city, telling the story of excavations since the 18th century and focusing on recent discoveries. The last space of the exhibition focuses on the frescoes that decorated the most beautiful Pompeii villas.

Some discoveries from the new excavations are also exhibited for the first time, including amulets, earthenware utensils, glass paste, ivory, bone, amber, bronze, a marble rabbit and a mosaic of the Ariadne and Dionysus nympheum. A selection of refined objects from previous excavations are also presented, along with copies of casts of some of the victims. "Pompeii" runs at Grand Palais until 27 September and further information is available here.

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POMPEII, CAMPANIA, ITALY - 2021/01/25: Jewelry in stone and bronze are displayed in the Antiquarium, a new museum venue in the Pompeii archaeological site with a permanent display of finds many of which were found during the last excavation campaign. The Roman town was buried by the terrible eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. (Photo by Carlo Hermann/KONTROLAB/LightRocket via Getty Images)


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