The volcanic eruption of AD 79 that buried Pompeii and other settlements on the Bay of Naples has given us a fascinating window onto the everyday life of a Roman town. This window is not always clear - some inhabitants of Pompeii managed to take some of their belongings with them as they fled the eruption, or returned to salvage what they could after it, possibly obscuring the record by doing so. The archaeological record has also been affected by clandestine excavations, and by the poor preservation of some materials, such as wood.
Yet at Pompeii we still have still a wealth of evidence - architecture, wall-paintings and mosaics, domestic artefacts - of a kind that is rarely found at other archaeological sites. And this evidence provides a unique insight into the lives of ordinary Romans in the first century AD.