I am a big fan of the Google Cultural Institute; it’s an amazing repository of Artistic Masterpieces, Wonders of the Natural World, Historical Artifacts, and more. By using it as a repository of digital materials, it’s an easy way to access cultural content from around the world in my classroom. I can pull up a high definition image of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and use its powerful zoom features so that students can see the impasto brush strokes. We can explore the Street Art of Sao Paulo with a Google Street View for a unit on modern art or the Ruins at Angkor Wat…
In ancient Pompeii, it appears that for the Romans, trash and tombs went hand in hand. New discoveries have uncovered dedicated trash pits along side tombs. The ancients were never ones for adequate, effective, or health-conscience means of trash disposal.
Even so, this new discovery has surprised even some of the most tenured scholars. However, many modern archaeologists have recognized the ‘casual’ relationship Romans had with waste disposal and the lack of ‘reverence’ attributed to burials.
“In general, when a Roman was confronted with death, he or she was more concerned with memory than with the afterlife. Individuals wanted to be remembered, and the way to do that was a big tomb in a high-traffic area. In other words, these tombs and cemeteries were never meant to be places for quiet contemplation. Tombs were display — very much a part of every day life, definitely not set apart, clean or quiet. They were part of the ‘down and dirty’ in life.”