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Unearthing history: Mount Allison student selected for archaeological dig in Pompeii

Mount Allison student Mackenzie Reeves will be participating in an archaeological dig at a fascinating location near the legendary Mount Vesuvius volcano this summer.
Mount Allison student Mackenzie Reeves will be participating in an archaeological dig at a fascinating location near the legendary Mount Vesuvius volcano this summer.

This summer is likely to be one for the history books as far as Mount Allison student Mackenzie Reeves is concerned.

The 21-year-old Kentville, N.S., resident is embarking on an epic adventure that will include an archaeological dig at the site of an ancient Roman city once buried in volcanic ash.

“We’re going to dig at a temple in Pompeii,” said Reeves.

Reeves is going to Italy as part of a program offered through Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.  He was thrilled to be counted among the small group of Mount A students selected for the international experience, which will count as class credits.

“The volcano erupted there in 79 A.D., so it’s covered in a layer of magma ash,” said Reeves.
“It perfectly preserved the entire city underneath and not all of it has been uncovered yet. There’s a lot of fresh stuff to dig.”

The students will essentially spend a month working at the dig site for full-time hours from Monday to Friday. Reeves, a fourth-year student majoring in history and philosophy, spent a lot of time reading about the area and various dig techniques to prepare.

“You have to dig the certain layers off… when you keep going down because that’s how you age things… by the layers of the deposits,” he explained.
“You’re uncovering the ground layer by layer.”

He cited pottery as an example of a common find at the temple they’ll be focusing on, but added that it’s exciting to imagine what could potentially turn up based on the area’s rich history.

The students will stay in a hotel near the dig site and cover the cost of their own travel and accommodations. Reeves plans to spend six weeks abroad in total, and seize the opportunity to visit several tourist destinations in his off time.

“I’m a little nervous,” admits Reeves, who spent most of June counting down the days until his flight to Italy on the 29th.

“But more than anything, I’m excited.”

Ashley.Thompson@kingscountynews.ca

 

More about Pompeii:

1.     Mount Vesuvius, located near the Bay of Naples in Italy, has erupted more than 50 times.

2.     The most well-known eruption was in 79 A.D., a devastating event that buried Pompeii and killed 2,000 people.

3.     Pompeii was long abandoned following the eruption. Explorers discovered that the city was largely intact underneath the dust and debris in 1748.

4.     Pompeii, originally settled by ancient Greeks in 8th century B.C., was historically known as a high-end resort area where people of prominence could enjoy warm weather and sunshine.

5.     Mount Vesuvius, still considered a dangerous volcano, last erupted in 1944.

Source: http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/Pompeii

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