Friday, September 23, 2011

Pompeii shows its true colours

When word spread to Britain of the sensational discovery of the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 18th century, "Pompeiian red" became the favoured colour for smart dining-rooms – as it remains today.

But, it seems, it may be time to get out the paint chart. According to new research presented to Sapienza University in Rome last week, large swaths of the vivid "Pompeiian red" frescoes in the town actually began life as yellow – and were turned red by the gases emitted from Vesuvius as it erupted in AD 79.

Experts have long realised that some of the characteristic vivid reds of the frescoes in Pompeii and Herculaneum were originally yellow. But a new study, conducted by Italy's National Institute of Optics, suggests the sheer extent of the colour change.

More at The Guardian

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