28 March – 29 September 2013

This exhibition is now closed

Sponsored by

Goldman Sachs logo

In collaboration with

Soprintendenza Speciale per I Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei logo

Recommend this exhibition


AD 79. In just 24 hours, two cities in the Bay of Naples in southern Italy were buried by a catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Preserved under ash, the cities lay buried for just over 1,600 years, their rediscovery providing an unparalleled glimpse into the daily life of the Roman Empire.


From the bustling street to the intimate spaces of a Roman home, this major exhibition will take you to the heart of people’s lives in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Read press release 

The eruption story

Worldwide Pompeii Live

The day Mount Vesuvius erupted

Explore the 24 hour timeline using an eyewitness account of the event alongside archaeological evidence to piece together the stages of the eruption and the devastating effects it had on the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

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Worldwide screenings

Worldwide screenings

Screening in cinemas worldwide

Experience the fascinating story of Pompeii and Herculaneum with this cinema event from the British Museum.

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24 hour eruption timeline 


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The British Museum at night

Open daily 10.00–17.00,
Fridays until 20.30

Last entry 70 minutes before closing

Getting here

Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

More on visiting the exhibition 


Bringing the Romans to life in the heart of London

Lectures, workshops, films and craft activities exploring life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

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Exhibition visits and resources

Free downloadable resources for exhibition visits or the classroom

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Download the official exhibition app

Explore the story of Vesuvius's eruption in the interactive timeline to see the differing fates of the two cities.

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By exhibition curator
Paul Roberts

This captivating book explores the lives of the ordinary people of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Includes new photography and over 200 objects.


Exhibition product range

Browse a selection of products inspired by the exhibition.

Exhibition catalogue, £25 
See all products 


Relief with Bacchus and followers, marble wall panel, © Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei / Trustees of the British Museum

A selection of objects from the exhibition

Includes a carbonised wooden cradle and a mosaic of a guard dog.

See highlight objects 

Visit the region

Costa del Vesuvio is a consortium of tourist operators that serves the historical region of Mount Vesuvius, offering accommodation, events, culture, and food and drink.

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Loan objects

A number of objects borrowed for this exhibition will be recommended for protection under Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (protection of cultural objects on loan).

For more information