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Dan Snow digs into the world of Pompeii

Channel 5

Dan Snow digs into the world of Pompeii

Dan Snow digs into the world of Pompeii

For people of a certain age if you mention ‘Pompeii’ you’ll most likely get saucy memories of Frankie Howerd romping around in a brown toga while trying to get some titters out in Up Pompeii. However, the real place is one of the world’s greatest archaeological time capsules as Dan Snow discovers in a Channel 5 programme tonight.

In the shadow of the mighty volcano, Vesuvius, lies this vast archaeological fascination – an entire city and its people frozen in time – Pompeii. This 90-minute feature tells the incredible story of how it was discovered.

Dan Snow travels to Italy in search of Pompeii’s gripping story of rediscovery, as treasure hunters and archaeologists battled for centuries to uncover (and sometimes plunder) the lost city. He retraces the amazing first finds, hidden deep beneath the rock-hard volcanic debris, where miners burrowed 25 metres down to a forgotten theatre that was once filled with Roman audiences, and he enters the spectacular gladiatorial arena whose discovery opened the floodgates to the excavation of Pompeii – revealing a fascinating lost world of life and death in ancient Rome.

Frankie Howerd – Up Pompeii sketch on ATV’s ‘The Golden Shot’.

Every new discovery reveals an incredible secret about the Roman world: the rich single woman named Julia Felix who ran her luxurious home as an upmarket bath-house; the graffiti that a child scrawled on a wall to celebrate their favourite gladiator; the recently discovered fast-food bar where archaeologists found brightly painted walls showing the dishes on offer, right next to the bones of the volcano’s victims.

Dan also investigates an extraordinary story from World War II, when Pompeii was in the firing line during the Allied invasion of Italy. Digging into the archives, Dan learns that British bombers nearly blew Pompeii to pieces – squadron records and photographs reveal what happened and how Pompeii could have disappeared forever under the bombardment.

Pompeii: The Discovery, begins tonight at 9pm on Channel 5.

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