A new app for tablets and smartphones to support the critically acclaimed exhibition Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum has been launched by the British Museum. Designed for those who experience the exhibition, or for people around the world who are not able to visit London it is an inventive and fun app. Using interactive maps of the region and a timeline of the eruption, users will be able to explore the objects and themes of the exhibition, and immerse themselves in the life and death of the two cities on their tablet or smartphone. The app will feature exclusive video footage including interviews with the curator and contributions from special guests. The app will be available on the Apple and Android app stores.
After a short introductory video, the app offers the user a map of the Bay of Naples, with three main areas to explore – the two cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the volcano, Vesuvius. You can immerse yourself in the life of the two Roman cities
Touching on Pompeii or Herculaneum on the map takes the user through to the street plans, on which are plotted over 250 of the key objects featured in the exhibition. Users will be able to filter objects and their background information by theme; urban context, commerce, religion and beliefs, wealth and status, grooming and adornment, relaxing in luxury, entertaining, food and drink. Touching an object marker leads through to more information about the object and fully-zoomable high resolution images.
Each of the eight themes has an exclusive video introduction by the exhibition curator, Paul Roberts. A selection of star objects is accompanied by audio commentary from experts in Roman history: Mary Beard, Professor of Classics, Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Director of Research, both at the University of Cambridge, and Amanda Claridge, Professor of Roman Archaeology at Royal Holloway.
Browse an interactive timeline of the eruption story. Users can touch on the marker for Vesuvius to activate the interactive timeline that plots the devastating progress of the volcano in the 24 hours of the eruption. Based on an artist’s impression of a typical street in both Pompeii and Herculaneum, the viewpoint shifts between the two cities as time progresses. An immersive soundscape brings the animation to life and illustrates how the two cities and their inhabitants met their end. Specially recorded excerpts from the first-hand account of Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the eruption, provide the narrative.
At each key point in the timeline users can access additional information about the volcano and the eruption, the people who died, and the objects recovered from the sites 1,700 years later. Aftermath Users can follow the story after the eruption, exploring the re-discovery and excavation of the two cities, recent archaeology and the development of the British Museum exhibition itself. The curator of the exhibition Paul Roberts stated, ‘We are delighted to invite tablet and smartphone users all over the world to explore the content of our Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition. Good clear explanations and beautiful, detailed images of the remarkable objects offer an exciting opportunity to investigate the stories of these cities in the palm of your hand.’
Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum app Available from 18 April at the Apple Store and 2 May at Android app stores
The Pompeii app is available in the Apple store for iPad (£3.99) and iPhone (£1.99) and on Google Play for selected Android phones (£1.99).