Playback: If These Walls Could Talk

Social media is not just for modern folk. In this episode from the Overheard archives, we’ll look at how in ancient Pompeii, people also shared what they thought, who they met with, what they ate—just with different technology. For more information on this episode, visit Want more? The new book Lost Cities, Ancient Tombs: A History of the World in 100 Discoveries details the story of Pompeii and other milestones in the human journey. Pompeii is not just an archaeological site; it's one huge graveyard. But it was very much a living city right up until it was snuffed out by Mt. Vesuvius. When you think of an avalanche, you probably think of snow. But volcanoes also cause avalanches. Archaeologists believe that it was an avalanche of rocketing, boiling gas and sediment that cooked Pompeiians alive in 79 A.D. In the late 1800s, archaeologists started pouring plaster into voids left in the hardened volcanic ash covering Pompeii. The result? Full-sized casts of Vesuvius' victims—human and otherwise. Do you live in the shadow of a volcano? Here are a few safety tips for when that telltale rumbling begins. Could Chernobyl be our contemporary version of Pompeii? Some archaeologists think so. Also explore: Curious about how Pompeii's graffiti compares to the stuff in your own backyard? Check out images of ancient Pompeiian graffiti at the Ancient Graffiti Project. Vesuvius will erupt again. The question is when, and what will Pompeiians do when it does? If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to to subscribe today.

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