The scientific tourist #285 — guard dog

Seen at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (as part of a traveling exhibit titled “A Day in Pompeii“), likely one of the most famous figures recovered from the ruins of Pompeii:

Guard dog

Pompeii was once an ancient Roman resort city, buried by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius on August 24 and 25, 79 AD.  Some of the inhabitants were either cautious or lucky, and escaped before their less-fortunate fellow citizens were buried at home.  This dog was likely left behind to guard its family’s belongings until their return.

But Pompeii would lay buried under 12 feet of volcanic ash and debris for the next 1700 years.  During excavation, odd voids were found in the solidified ash — these turned out to be the cavities left by the bodies of the dead.  Filled with plaster, they formed body casts like this one.

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