The Discovery and Excavation of Pompeii    [Print whole story]

Fiorelli's Process
Fiorelli realised that where people had been covered in ashes and died, the ashes had gone hard and the body had rotted leaving a cavity. Fiorelli poured plaster of paris into these cavities which gave plaster replicas of the final moments of the dead people. This was a great discovery as it gave information about the ways people died in the eruption of 79 AD and it also gave information about what the Roman wore in Pompeii.

Fiorelli's process has also been used to get plaster casts of wooden shutters, doors and furniture, as well as root cavities to find out what plants the Romans had in their gardens. In 1875 Fiorelli was made general director of museums and the excavations in Italy and he moved to Rome.

See also: the gallery of plaster casts.

[Plaster cast of a Pompeian in the Macellum  - click to enlarge] [Plaster cast of a shutter in the Villa of Mysteries - click to enlarge]