Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Pompeii II

Not a theme park.
  [vote for,

On a large plot of land in Italy, in Campania and near the coast (but a relatively safe distance away from Vesuvius - safer than the original, anyway) build a full-scale replica of Pompeii based on the archaeological facts but using contemporary materials to save on cost. Decorate and furnish the city as far as possible as it would have been in the early part of 79AD (pre-eruption). Install CCTV cameras everywhere, inside and outside buildings (there would be areas that would be designated as private).

Nearby, build a combined visitor centre, research building, and support facility.

Populate the city with volunteers, students and experimental archaeologists plus craftsmen and reenactors, with appropriate domestic and domesticated animals. In the beginning of the experiment there would need to be a certain amount of "pump-priming" i.e. an external supply of bread (or pre-milled flour), meat, etc. until the population grew large and stable enough to fulfill those functions internally. There would of course be a continuous supply of appropriate foodstuffs (grain, wine, grapes, fruit, animals etc.) from the surrounding countryside, but these would have to be "paid" for, as would any materials that the city would have to import in normal circumstances; refined metals, timber, charcoal, clay for pots.

Participants agree to "live" the Roman lifestyle full time in the city for a minimum of 28 days. This includes clothing, diet, work, leisure. They would agree to have no contact with the modern world unless there was an internal (medical) or external (family) emergency. They can, however, write and receive letters, and would be encouraged to keep a diary. Basic fluency in Latin woud be a requirement. Vegetarians and the squeamish need not apply.

They would also be available to be questioned during their stay by the researchers who would enter the city "in character". Everything woud be recorded by the CCTV system for academic analysis although the pay-per-view webcams in the brothels might be a useful source of revenue.

At the end of their stay they would be debriefed on their experience.

Tourists would be allowed in, but only in small, carefully supervised parties, in costume and possibly performing appropriate tasks i.e. bringing goods to market.

A huge amount of invaluable data on how a Roman city really worked could be obtained. The city would also make a great film set.

Some aspects such as combat in the arena would have to be moderated to fit in with modern sensibilities. Animals would receive modern veterinary attention if required.

However, the problems of keeping food fresh in the absence of refrigerators, and of disposing of waste, would be part of the research.

8th of 7, Dec 14 2014

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       // a safe distance away from Vesuvius// [=]
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 14 2014

       //combat in the arena would have to be moderated// [=]
pocmloc, Dec 14 2014

       [poc], no animals would be hurt or mistreated.   

       [MB] "relatively safe" then ...
8th of 7, Dec 14 2014

       Makes the edit, gets the bun.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 14 2014

       ...but //no animals would be hurt or mistreated// - cats?
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 14 2014

       Fighting cats in a gladiatorial arena is a non-starter. They're too quick, even for a Retiarius. The only way to win is to tape their legs with parcel tape beforehand, and that's not very authentic.
8th of 7, Dec 14 2014

       Lions and tigers are cats
pocmloc, Dec 14 2014


       We suggest that you validate your thesis by applying parcel tape to the legs of an adult tiger.   

       That should amuse the crowd for a few minutes before the main show.
8th of 7, Dec 14 2014

       sp. retiarius
pertinax, Dec 15 2014

       //volunteers, students and experimental archaeologists//   

       Of these, which would volunteer to be the slaves?
pertinax, Dec 15 2014

       Presumably the ones that want a month's free bed and board ?   

       Sp. fixed.
8th of 7, Dec 15 2014

       In today's Italian economy, that might work.   

       There's a possibility that you might get more reality-overlap than you bargained for, with some of the "slave" population being drawn from among recent immigrants already living in near-slave conditions.
pertinax, Dec 15 2014

       No problem. If they can speak Latin (or learn as they go, as real slaves from other parts of the Empire would have to do) then they're in.
8th of 7, Dec 15 2014

       //problems of keeping food fresh in the absence of refrigerators   

       Not a particularly a big deal, did six months without a fridge just to see how possible it was. It's more awkward not having a microwave imho.
not_morrison_rm, Dec 15 2014

       [not_mrm] - interesting, but were you relying on having easy access to shops which kept food in refrigerators? You not having a fridge is not the same as a (general) "absence of refrigerators".
hippo, Dec 15 2014

       There was one arena in Pompeii, rumoured to be run by a rather portly ex-soldier who had consumed his bickering wife in small packed lunches while attending the events.   

       When asked if he felt any remorse, he replied that he had none. In fact, he was glad he ate her.   

       boom tish...
Ling, Dec 15 2014

       ^ Thumbs down.
AusCan531, Dec 16 2014

       If a foodstuff has all that done to it, the edibility is probably going to be fairly low ... but it might be useful as a building material ...
8th of 7, Dec 17 2014


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