Guildford Travel Club Presents

Tragedy of Pompeii – Living with Volcanoes

15th November 2016

David Edwards

The Speaker
Pompeii and Herculaneum were both obliterated by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, as searingly hot avalanches of ash overran them. Pompeii, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was buried to a depth of only 4m and we can learn a lot about the Roman way of life from it. Herculaneum, buried to a depth of 20m, presented a more challenging excavation but has preserved taller buildings and while a smaller site, is an extremely dramatic one.
Using his expertise as a guide to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius, David looks at the fascinating stories gleaned from the clues that litter this tempestuous landscape in one of the most densely populated, and threatened, areas of Europe. David weaves in his knowledge of other volcanic areas to provide surprising insights.

David has been a professional mountain walks leader. He graduated from Edinburgh University with honours geology and worked as an expedition science leader in Botswana and the Yukon.

He has worked as a ranger in the Grand Canyon National Park, and on a biodiversity survey of Montserrat as the volcanic eruptions started. He was the Director of Studies for Edinburgh University’s Global Environmental Change international summer school. David was for many years a lecturer in environmental sustainability for the University of Glasgow. He is a lecturer on the environment for the Open University and is also an advisor for Keele University's Earth Science Education Unit.

David has had many articles published in national journals and has contributed to Radio 4's Excess Baggage travel programme. In 2010 he was part of an expedition in the Pacific conducting seafloor research, and in 2013 participated in a Geological Society of America expedition to Antarctica. He has recently been appointed an earth science field studies guide for the Bay of Naples volcanic area (including Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius) and Iceland.
Mosaic in outdoor triclinium showing Neptune and Amphitrite, Herculaneum
Plaster cast of volcano victim, Pompeii
Fumarole with sulphur deposit
    Bakery mills for grinding grain (catullus) from a pistrinum (bakery), Pompeii