When Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79, ash rained down over the city burying its inhabitants. The ash hardened around them, preserving their final position at the moment of their deaths. The first remains were found in 1777, and in 1864, excavators determined that if they poured plaster into the hollow pockets left behind, allowing them to create plaster casts of the bodies. Of 1150 bodies recovered in Pompeii, only 100 have been cast in plaster.

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