AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOMENT – HERCULANEUM 1996

A TOWN BENEATH A TOWN

The ancient town of Herculaneum was also destroyed in the eruption of Vesuvius on August 24th 79 AD. Today the modern town of Ercolano now lies over part of the site. The circumstances of Herculaneum’s burial were much different than those of Pompeii. A compact mass of tufaceous material about 15 to 18 meters deep completely covered the town. While making excavation very slow and difficult, it preserved the town and prevented subsequent tampering and looting. Due to unique conditions of the ground humidity the wooden frameworks of houses, door frames, furniture, the hull of a large boat, remnants of cloth, and even some food, in this case carbonized loaves of bread left in the ovens, were all well preserved. These circumstances have made Herculaneum a very special frozen moment in time. With the discovery of about 120 skeletons in the 1980’s on what was the original shoreline even the last moments of Herculaneum’s residents were preserved. The site is also a World Heritage Site.

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOMENT – HERCULANUM 1996

Photo taken in Herculaneum, Italy during a visit in 1996. The modern town can be seen above the ruins with Vesuvius towering menacingly in the background

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Categories: Archaeology, Perspective, Photography | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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