Barry McNamara  |   Published September 17, 2019

Searching for Survivors of Pompeii

‘Where Did the Pompeians Go? Searching for Survivors from the Eruption of Vesuvius, AD 79’ topic of third-annual Thomas J. and Anne W. Sienkewicz Lecture on Roman Archaeology on Sept. 24.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – The eruption of Italy’s Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD is believed to have killed around 2,000 residents of the city of Pompeii, among its overall toll of as many as 16,000 who succumbed to the deadly lava and ash.

But what about those who survived the horrific natural disaster?

STEVEN TUCK: Hopes to answer definitely whether people from Pompeii and Herculaneum survive... STEVEN TUCK: Hopes to answer "definitely whether people from Pompeii and Herculaneum survived the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 and, if so, whether survivors can be located in the Roman world.”Steven Tuck, a professor of classics at Miami (Ohio) University, will answer that question when he delivers Monmouth College’s third-annual Thomas J. and Anne W. Sienkewicz Lecture on Roman Archaeology.

Tuck will present the lecture at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Pattee Auditorium on the lower level of the College’s Center for Science and Business. Titled “Where Did the Pompeians Go? Searching for Survivors from the Eruption of Vesuvius, AD 79,” his talk is free and open to the public.

“The goal of this project is to attempt to answer definitely whether people from Pompeii and Herculaneum survived the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 and, if so, whether survivors can be located in the Roman world,” said Tuck.

Tuck’s work will be published this year under the title “Harbors of Refuge: Post-Vesuvian Population Shifts in Italian Harbor Communities” in the journal Analecta Romana. It has already been profiled in several other publications, including Forbes and Archaeology.

After creating eight categories of evidence that might indicate refugee resettlement – including individuals whose movement is documented, Roman family names, voting tribes, refugee intermarriage, new infrastructure and cultural evidence – Tuck created databases of family names from Pompeii, Herculaneum and other prospective refuge cities. Analysis of the material across the eight categories found that the coastal communities of Cumae, Naples, Puteoli and Ostia provide the best support for refugee resettlement.

“For example, at Cumae, two members of the Sulpicius family recorded at Pompeii late in the life of the city died at Cumae in the late first century,” said Tuck. “They were joined there by members of the Pompeian branches of the Licinii and Lucretii, who intermarried in the new city.”

Tuck said the patterns indicate that more people survived from Pompeii than from Herculaneum, that most stayed in coastal Campania, and that government intervention and support came after resettlement, but it did not drive it.

The author of A History of Roman Art and many articles and chapters on Roman art, especially Roman sculpture, Tuck also publishes on Latin epigraphy and on spectacle entertainments in the Roman world. He has received nine honors for undergraduate teaching, including the Archaeological Institute of America Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. Tuck earned his doctorate in classical art and archaeology from the University of Michigan.

The Sienkewicz Lecture series was created last year by an anonymous donor to honor longtime Monmouth classics professor Tom Sienkewicz and his wife, Anne.

“The generous donor who has endowed the Sienkewicz Lecture series has allowed Monmouth to bring in some of the most prominent Roman archaeologists in the field to share their fascinating research,” said Monmouth classics professor Bob Simmons, who succeeded Sienkewicz as chair of the department.

Sienkewicz was the Monmouth Minnie Billings Capron Chair of Classics from 1985-2017. During his first year on the faculty, he founded the Western Illinois Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, which has hosted scores of archaeological lectures on campus. From 2012-17, Sienkewicz served the Classical Association of the Middle West and South as its chief executive and financial officer.

Anne Sienkewicz has been a loyal supporter of archaeology and over the years has hosted countless speakers.

If You Go …

Steven Tuck will discuss “Where Did the Pompeians Go? Searching for Survivors from the Eruption of Vesuvius, AD 79” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Pattee Auditorium of the Center for Science and Business.

Back to News & Events

Did you know?

  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 99% of Monmouth students received some type of scholarship or financial assistance.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/types-of-aid/scholarships/" target="_blank">Scholarships</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We’re no stranger to winning. Last year the Fighting Scots won Midwest Conference championships in Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Track and Field. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="https://monmouthscots.com/" target="_blank">Fighting Scots</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers several international trips each year during 2-week Scots Terms in January and May. Recently students have traveled to Botswana, Greece, Scotland, Japan, and more. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="https://monmouthcollege.edu/offices/global-engagement/" target="_blank">Scots Term</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College covers the cost for all current students to get a U.S. passport. Unlock access to over 198 different countries! We’ll even help with the paperwork :)</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/study-abroad/" target="_blank">Study Abroad</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an educational garden and 6.7 acre farm. Students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="https://monmouthcollege.edu/academics/only-at-monmouth/educational-garden-farm/" target="_blank">Garden & Farm</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is the birthplace of the women’s fraternity movement. Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi, two of the oldest sororities, were founded at Monmouth in the 1860’s. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/student-life/sororities-fraternities/" target="_blank">Sororities & Fraternities</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers unique academic minors in Global Public Health and Global Food Security for students who want to use their education to address global challenges. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-public-health/" target="_blank">Global Public Health</a></li><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-food-security/" target="_blank">Global Food Security</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 98% of Monmouth graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/wackerle-center/career-services/" target="_blank">Career Services</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Textbooks are included in the cost of tuition at Monmouth College. No need to try to plan for an additional expense, and our students start each semester fully prepared for classes. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/tuition-fees/" target="_blank">Tuition & Fees</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> While we have the Wells Theater on campus, the Theatre department also uses the block-box auditorium Fusion Theatre downtown Monmouth.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/theatre/" target="_blank">Theatre</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is proudly test optional. Applicants may choose whether or to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission and scholarship consideration. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/admission/apply/test-optional/" target="_blank">Test Optional</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an active Pipe & Drum Band. Each year on Scholar’s Day in April the bagpipers wake students up at 6:00 a.m. by playing in the residence halls!</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/music/pipe-band/" target="_blank">Pipe Band</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We offer a certified Peace Corps Preparation program that gives Peace Corps bound graduates a leg up in the application process.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/peace-corps-prep/" target="_blank">Peace Corps Prep</a></li></ul></div></aside>