Cities of Vesuvius



- Syllabus Content -



Past HSC and Trials Questions

(from Assessment and Reporting in Ancient History Stage 6, page 8)
Section I – Cities of Vesuvius – Pompeii and Herculaneum (25 marks)
Questions in this section will require candidates to refer to the source booklet.
This section will consist of two parts.
Part A (15 marks)
  • There will be objective response and short-answer questions to the value of 15 marks, including from 5 to 10 objective response questions.
  • Questions will require candidates to use sources and apply their own knowledge.
Part B (10 marks)
  • There will be one question worth 10 marks that will require candidates to refer to sources and apply their own knowledge to issues of investigating, reconstructing and preserving the past and related ethical issues.

(Note that this format is new for 2010.)

HSC 2009


Question 1 (7 marks)

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Source 1: The House of the Silver Wedding at Pompeii

(a) Name TWO architectural features shown in Source 1? (2)

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Source 2: Plan of the Forum Baths at Herculaneum.
(1) Entrance to the men's baths (2) Entrance to the women's baths

(b) Using Source 2, describe the features of baths in Herculaneum and Pompeii. (5)

Question 2 (8 marks)

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Source 3: Fishing net and net mending tools from Herculaneum

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Source 4: Fullery of Stephanus at Pompeii

What do Sources 3 and 4 reveal about industries in Pompeii and Herculaneum. (8)

Question 3 (10 marks)

"At the very heart of any understanding of Pompeii and its archaeology must be the demands of the tourist, who as Maiuri explained was the client of archaeology..."
Source 5: Ray Laurence, University of Birmingham

To what extent has tourism influenced the way the sites of Pompeii and/or Herculaneum have been managed since the 1800s?

In your answer, refer to Source 5 and your own knowledge.

The following points come from the BOS sample answers for this question:

Answers could include:
A judgement about the extent of the influence of tourism on site management over time, e.g. the degree to which tourism influenced decisions about the site.
Relevant issues could include:
  • early archaeology and tableaux (display)
  • work of archaeologists and/or officials in displaying of artefacts / buildings, for example Fiorelli, Maiuri
  • moving artefacts off-site to storage, museums, etc
  • use of copies of artefacts
  • modern problems of tourism including graffiti, vandalism, theft, damage due to high visitor numbers, etc
  • provision of amenities and surveillance
  • modern preservation and conservation efforts (both Italian and international responsibilities)
Candidates can also legitimately discuss other factors that influenced the management of the site over time, eg. funding issues, poor site management, World Wars, weathering



HSC 2008


Question 1 (7 marks)

"At the same time, an unbelievable quantity of ash was blown out, covering land, sea and all the sky. Not surprisingly it did a great deal of damage to men, farms and cattle. It destroyed all fish and birds and, in addition, it buried two whole cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii... The whole cloud of dust was so great that some of it reached Africa, Syria and Egypt; it also reached Rome, filling the sky above it and darkening the sun."
Source 1: Dio Cassius 66.23

(a) What is being described in Source 1? (1)
(b) Give TWO examples from Source 1 that indicate this was a major event. (2)

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Source 2: A streetscape in Herculaneum

(c) using Source 2 and your own knowledge, describe the streetscapes in Herculaneum. (4)

Question 2 (8 marks)

"The gladiatorial troupe of Aulus Suettius Certus will fight at Pompeii on 31 May. There will be a hunt and awnings. Good fortune to all Neronian games."

"Gaius Quinctius Valgus, son and Gaius, and Marcus Porcius, son of Marcus, quinquennial duumvirs, for the honour of the colony, saw to the construction of the amphitheatre at their own expense and gave the area to the colonists in perpetuity."
Source 3: Inscriptions from Pompeii

Using Source 3 and your own knowledge, explain the importance of the amphitheatre in Pompeian society.

Question 3 (10 marks)

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Source 4: Conservation at Herculaneum

" ... reconstruction provides us with a means of visualising past environments, allowing us a glimpse of the past that might otherwise be difficult to appreciate."
Source 5: Kate Devlin and Alan Chalmers, University of Bristol

Using Sources 4 and 5 and your own knowledge, assess methods used by archaeologists and/or other specialists to reconstruct the past at Pompeii and/or Herculaneum.



Trial 2008


Question 1 (7 marks)

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Source 1: Levels of volcanic material depositied on Pompeii and Herculaneum by the Vesuvius eruption, AD 79

Using Source 1:
(a) How deep was the cover of Volcanic material deposited on Herculaneum? (1)
(b) List TWO other features of the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. (2)

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Source 2: Graffiti depicting a gladiatorial contest (Necropolis outside the Nucerian Gate, Pompeii)

(c) Using Source 2 and your own knowledge, explain why the people of Pompeii used graffiti.

Question 2 (8 marks)

"... there is another type of choice fluid, called garum, produced from the guts of fish... steeped in salt - in other words, it is the fermentation of decaying matter... These days, the most popular garum is made from the mackerel in the fisheries of New Carthage... and around twelve pints costs 1,000 sesterces. Almost no fluid except for perfume begins to fetch a greater price, bringing fame to the countries of origin... Clazomenae too is is praised for its garum, as are Pompeii and Leptis."
Source 3: from Pliny the Elder, Natural History

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Source 4: Shop at the House of Neptune and Amphitrite (Herculaneum)

Using Sources 3 and 4, and your own knowledge of other sources, interpret what these reveal about the main features of the economy of Pompeii and/or Herculaneum.

Question 3 (10 marks)

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Source 5: Tourists at the Marine Gate, Pompeii

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Source 6: Statistics on Visitors to Pompeii 1981 - 2004

"[In 1977], someone hacked 14 frescoes out of the House of the Gladiators. It should have been a warning, but nearly 600 more items were stolen from Pompeii over the next 15 years, according to the Italian Archeoclub, a preservationist group.
Pompeii attracts visitors in ever-increasing numbers... They jam into the few open houses, backpacks scraping against frescoes, fingers rubbing along painted walls, greedy hands scooping up morsels of marble as souvenirs..."
Source 7: from C. Hughes "Chances to see Pompeii dwindling as time and decay take their toll."

Using Sources 5, 6 and 7 and other sources, evaluate the impact of tourism on both conservation and reconstruction at Pompeii and Herculaneum.



Trial 2007


Question 1 (7 marks)

"The millers (pistores) ask for and desire Cn. Helvius Sabinus as aedile, together with his neighbours."
Source 1: A political endorsement (Pompeii)

Using Source 1:
(a) Who are the millers supporting in the elections at Pompeii? (1)

(b) Identify TWO other political activities in Pompeii besides elections. (2)

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Source 2: A lararium

Using Source 2:
(c) Describe the main features of a lararium. (4)

Question 2 (8 marks)

"Eumachia, daughter of Lucius, public priestess, in her own name and that of her son, Marcus Numistrius Fronto, built at her own expense the chalcidicum, crypt and portico in honour of Augustan Concord and Piety and also dedicated them."
Source 3: Eumachia Inscription (Pompeii)

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Source 4: Gold bracelet with the inscription: 'from the master to his slave girl'. (Pompeii)

"Caecilia Agathia, freedwoman of Lucius, in her lifetime constructed (this) for herself and for Lucius Caecilius Dioscurides, freedman of Lucius, her husband."
Source 5: Limestone plaque on a tomb (Nucerian Gate necropolis, Pompeii)

Using sources 3, 4 and 5 and your own knowledge of other sources, interpret what these reveal about the social structure of Pompeii and/or Herculaneum.

Question 3 (10 marks)

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Source 6: Plaster cast of prone body in a storage room (Pompeii)

"The project to complete the study, removal and conservation of the skeletons, and then the display of copies on site continues to be delayed by administrative complications with the heritage agency, and this has left the in situ skeletons in conditions which are not at all ideal.
However, there is also a cultural aspect which should be considered here, as Italy is a Catholic country with a long history of displaying skeletons and other human remains. This means that for the Italian visitor the presence and display of the skeletons on site does not necessarily have the same problematic significance that it might have for visitors from other cultures."
Source 7: Sarah Court, Research & Outreach Coordinator, Herculaneum Conservation Project

Using Sources 6 and 7 and other sources, evaluate the ethical issues arising from the study and display of human remains at Pomepii and Herculaneum.