16 – 20 November 2023
Pompeii – AHS Tour


This tour will explore the majestic ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii that was buried under the volcanic ash and pumice from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. This tragic event for those that lived and worked in Pompeii was recorded in the works of Pliny the Younger but was then lost. Rediscovered and continuously excavated since 1592 Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pompeii has provided a wealth of source material and evidence giving unique and personal details of the lives of the Pompeiians and more broadly the Romans. Any publication on the Roman Empire will feature aspects of Pompeii so it will often feel very familiar.

Pompeii is small in terms of urban area but as there is a profusion of detail and this tour will take a thematic approach to the ruins and this will mean a great deal of walking. We will look at the political hearth of Pompeii exploring the forum, religious structures, buildings of entertainment, baths, private dwellings of the well-to-do and the shops & workshops of the non-elite. We will also look at burial and reputations. Of course, no trip to Pompeii could be complete without a stop and visit to the so-called ‘Lupanare’, reputedly the only preserved purpose-built brothel from the Ancient World.

Pompeii is impressive in terms of surviving remains, but it is Herculaneum that is extraordinary in terms of the preservation of wood and other organic-based materials such as roofs, doors, beds and even food. We will spend half a day examining this other unique site that has also been preserved due to the tragedy of AD79.

Pompeii and Herculaneum were urban sites but they were intimate linked to the rural landscape. We will look at the Villa of the Mysteries, just outside the Herculaneum Gate of Pompeii. Time permitting, we will include the Villa Regina, a rustic villa located at Boscoreale, and Stabiae.


We will end the tour in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples which houses artifacts from nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum. The museum also contains many fine examples of Roman sculpture and Roman copies of Greek originals and the ‘Gabinetto Segreto’, Secret Cabinet, the Bourbon Monarchy’s collection of erotic art taken from the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Other Details



Centrally located Hotel Forum**** in Pompeii.


Course Cost

£637 inclusive of tuition, airport transfers (only available for the Siragusa Tours nominated flight), visits to Herculaneum and Naples, bed and breakfast tariff in twin-share room with private facilities. Flights are excluded.


Single Room Supplement




Once the tour is viable, we will contact you with details of the ‘nominated flight’.  The tutor and/or LRAC assistant will be booked on this flight. You should then make your own flight arrangements. 


Travel Insurance

Once the tour is viable and flights are booked, please make sure to also book travel insurance.


Local Transport

Airport transfers (if booked on nominated flight) and visits to Naples by minibus.  Transfer to Herculaneum by minibus or train, depending on group size.   



Dr Ardle Mac Mahon is a long-standing Associate Lecture in Classical Studies with the Open University. He has a primary degree and research master’s degree in Greek & Roman Civilization from University College Dublin. He gained a PhD in Roman Archaeology from the University of Durham. The topic of his thesis was on the retail establishments (tabernae) of Roman Britain. His research has broadened to include the examination of the shops and workshops of the rest of the Roman empire but with a particular focus on Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Ostia. More broadly Ardle’s interests are in the social history of the non-elite. 

Ardle has taught every module offered by the Open University in Classical Studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels over the years and currently teaches A229 (Exploring the Classical World), A340 (The Roman Empire), A350 (Greek and Roman Myth: stories and histories and A864 (MA Classical Studies: part 2). He has also been a Teaching Associate in Roman Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Nottingham, lectured in the Department of Classical at Royal Holloway, University of London. 


Related OU Courses 

A229 – Exploring the Classical World; A340 – The Roman Empire; A350 – Greek and Roman Myth: stories and histories; A863 – MA Classical Studies: Part 1, A864 MA Classical Studies: Part 2 & General Interest


Group Size 



Itinerary / Study Programme


Day 1, Thursday, 16 November 2023

Arrival in Naples at 18.05 hrs and transfer to Hotel Forum **** in Pompei


Day 2, Friday, 17 November 2023


AM Amphitheatre/Theatre

PM Forum


Day 3, Saturday, 18 November 2023


AM  Temples and Religion 

PM  Houses of the elite, shops, workshops, ‘lupanare’ and life in Pompei


Day 4, Sunday, 19 November 2023


AM  Herculaneum site


PM Tombs& Villa of the Mysteries


Day 5, Monday, 20 November 2023


AM & PM Archaeological Museum and time in Naples

Drive to airport for check in at 17.00 hrs


This itinerary and study program is provisional and may be subject to change in response to local conditions