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Herculaneum (; it, Ercolano) was an ancient town, located in the modern-day ''
comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services: Civil registry, registry of births a ...
'' of
Ercolano Ercolano () is a town and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services ...

Ercolano
,
Campania it, Campano (man) it, Campana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 ...
, Italy. Herculaneum was buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of
Mount Vesuvius Mount Vesuvius ( ; it, Vesuvio ; nap, 'O Vesuvio , also or ; la, Vesuvius , also , or ) is a somma A somma volcano (also known as a sommian) is a volcano, volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central volcanic cone, ...
in AD 79. Like the nearby city of
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The provides essential public services: of births and deaths, , and maintenan ...

Pompeii
, Herculaneum is famous as one of the few ancient cities to be preserved more or less intact as the ash that blanketed the town also protected it against looting and the elements. Although less well known today than Pompeii, it was the first, and for a long time the only, buried Vesuvian city to be found (in 1709), while Pompeii was only revealed from 1748 and identified in 1763. Unlike Pompeii, the mainly pyroclastic material that covered Herculaneum
carbonized Carbonized were a Swedish avant garde metal band formed 1988 in Saltsjöbaden. The band was formed by Lars Rosenberg in 1988, with Dismember (band), Dismember vocalist Matti Kärki. Joined by drummer Piotr Wawrzeniuk, the trio was completed by Th ...
and preserved more wood in objects such as roofs, beds, and doors, as well as other organic-based materials such as food and
papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, ''Cyperus papyrus'', a wetland sedge. ''Papyrus'' (plural: ''papyri'') can also refer to a do ...

papyrus
. The traditional story is that the city was rediscovered by chance in 1709, during the digging of a well. Remnants of the city, however, were already found during earlier earthworks. In the first years after its rediscovery, tunnels were dug at the site by treasure hunters, and many artifacts were removed. Regular excavations began in 1738, and have continued ever since, albeit intermittently. Today, only part of the ancient site has been excavated, and attention and funds have shifted to the preservation of the already excavated parts of the city, rather than focusing on uncovering more areas. Although it was smaller than Pompeii with a population of up to 5000, Herculaneum was a wealthier town. It was a popular seaside retreat for the Roman elite, which is reflected in the extraordinary density of grand and luxurious houses with, for example, far more lavish use of coloured
marble Marble is a metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism upright=1.35, Schematic representation of ...

marble
cladding. Famous buildings of the ancient city include the
Villa of the Papyri The Villa of the Papyri ( it, Villa dei Papiri, also known as ''Villa dei Pisoni'') was an ancient Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century A ...
and the so-called "boat houses", in which the skeletal remains of at least 300 people were found.


History of Herculaneum

Dionysius of Halicarnassus states that the Greek hero
Heracles Heracles ( ; grc-gre, Ἡρακλῆς, , glory/fame of Hera Hera (; grc-gre, Ἥρα, Hḗrā; grc, Ἥρη, Hḗrē, label=none in Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in anci ...

Heracles
(''
Hercules Hercules (, ) is the Roman equivalent of the Greek divinity, divine hero Heracles, son of Jupiter (mythology), Jupiter and the mortal Alcmene. In classical mythology, Hercules is famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventur ...

Hercules
'' in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
) founded the city. However according to
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
, the
Oscans The Osci (also called Oscans, Opici, Opsci, Obsci, Opicans) were an Italic people The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group identified by their use of Italic languages a branch of the Indo-European language family. The Italic peoples ...
founded the first settlement and they were followed by Etruscan and then Greek control. The Greeks named the town ''Heraklion'' and used it as a trading post because of its proximity to the
Gulf of Naples The Gulf of Naples (), also called the Bay of Naples, is a roughly 15-kilometer-wide (9.3 mi) gulf located along the south-western coast of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links ...
. In the 4th century BC, Herculaneum came under the domination of the Samnites until it became a Roman ''municipium'' in 89 BC, when, having participated in the Social War ("War of The Allies" against Rome), it was defeated by
Titus Didius Titus Didius (also spelled Deidius in ancient times) was a politician and general of the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public rel ...
, a legate of
Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Roman general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infan ...
. After the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, Herculaneum was buried under approximately of ash. It lay hidden and largely intact until discoveries from wells and tunnels became gradually more widely known, and notably following the Prince d'Elbeuf's explorations in the early 18th century. Excavations continued sporadically up to the present and today many streets and buildings are visible, although over 75% of the town remains buried. Today, the Italian towns of
Ercolano Ercolano () is a town and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services ...

Ercolano
and
Portici Portici (; ) is a town and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public service ...

Portici
lie above the site of Herculaneum. Ercolano was called
Resina
Resina
until 1969 when, in honour of the old city, the Italian modernisation of the ancient name was adopted.


Eruption of 79 AD

Based on archaeological excavations and on two letters of Pliny the younger to the Roman historian
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
, the course of the eruption can be reconstructed. At around 1:00 pm, Mount Vesuvius began spewing volcanic material thousands of metres into the sky. When it reached a height of , the top of the column flattened, prompting Pliny to describe it to Tacitus as a
stone pine The stone pine, botanical name ''Pinus pinea'', also known as the Italian stone pine, umbrella pine and parasol pine, is a tree from the pine A pine is any conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed pla ...
tree. The prevailing winds at the time blew toward the southeast, causing the volcanic material to fall primarily on the city of
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The provides essential public services: of births and deaths, , and maintenan ...

Pompeii
and the surrounding area. Since Herculaneum lay to the west of Vesuvius, it was only mildly affected by the first phase of the eruption. While roofs in Pompeii collapsed under the weight of falling debris, only a few centimetres of ash fell on Herculaneum, causing little damage but nonetheless prompting most inhabitants to flee. At 1:00 am the next day, the eruptive column, which had risen into the
stratosphere The stratosphere () is the second layer of the atmosphere of the Earth, located above the troposphere The troposphere is the first and lowest layer of the atmosphere of the Earth, and contains 75% of the total mass of the planetary atmosphe ...

stratosphere
, collapsed onto Vesuvius and its flanks. The first
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, formed by a mixture of ash and hot gases, flowed down the mountain and through the mostly evacuated town of Herculaneum at . A succession of six flows and surges buried the city's buildings to approximately 20 m depth, causing little damage in some areas and preserving structures, objects and victims almost intact. However, in other areas there was significant damage, knocking down walls, tearing away columns and other large objects; a marble statue of
Marcus Nonius Balbus The gens Nonia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. Its members first appear in history toward the end of the Roman Republic, Republic. The first of the Nonii to obtain the Roman consul, consulship was Lucius Nonius Asprenas (consul 36 BC), Luc ...
near the baths was blown 15 m away and a carbonised skeleton was found lifted 2.5 m above ground level in the garden of the House of the Relief of Telephus. The date of the eruption has been shown to be on or after 17 October. Support for an October/November eruption has long been known in several respects: buried people in the ash were wearing heavier clothing than the light summer clothes typical of August; fresh fruit and vegetables in the shops are typical of October – and conversely the summer fruit typical of August was already being sold in dried, or conserved form. Wine fermenting jars had been sealed, which would have happened around the end of October; coins found in the purse of a woman buried in the ash include one with a 15th imperatorial acclamation among the emperor's titles and could not have been minted before the second week of September. Multidisciplinary research on the lethal effects of the pyroclastic surges in the Vesuvius area has shown that in the vicinity of Pompeii and Herculaneum, heat was the main cause of the death of people who had previously been thought to have died by ash suffocation. This study shows that exposure to the surges, measuring at least 250 °C (480 °F) even at a distance of 10 kilometres from the vent, was sufficient to cause the instant death of all residents, even if they were sheltered within buildings.


Archaeology

The Prince d'
Elbeuf Elbeuf () is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs to or ...
began building a villa at nearby Granatello and to furnish it became interested in local stories of wells revealing ancient statues and works of art. In 1709 he purchased the land of a recent well and proceeded to tunnel out from the bottom of the well, collecting any statues they could find. The well revealed some exceptional statues at the lowest levels which were found to be the site of the theatre. Among the earliest statues recovered were the two superbly sculpted Herculaneum Women now in the Dresden
Skulpturensammlung The Skulpturensammlung (English: Sculpture Collection) is part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections). It is located in the Albertinum in Dresden. The collection of the Dresden Skulpturensammlung ranges in age mo ...
. The excavation was stopped in 1711 for fear of collapse of buildings above. Major excavation was resumed in 1738 under the patronage of
Charles III of Spain it, Carlo Sebastiano di Borbone e Farnese , house = BourbonBourbon may refer to: Food and drink * Bourbon whiskey, an American whiskey made using a corn-based mash * Bourbon barrel aged beer, a type of beer aged in bourbon barrels * ...

Charles III of Spain
when he started construction of his nearby palace at Portici. He employed Spanish military engineer
Rocque Joaquin de AlcubierreRocque is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: *John Rocque (c. 1709 – 1762), English surveyor and cartographer *Kelsey Rocque (born 1994), Canadian curler *Marcel Rocque (born 1971), Canadian curler *Michael Rocque (born 1899), Ind ...
to oversee the intensive new work. The resulting elaborate publication of '' Le Antichità di Ercolano'' ("The Antiquities of Herculaneum") had an effect on incipient European
Neoclassicism Neoclassicism (also spelled Neo-classicism; from Ancient Greek, Greek νέος ''nèos'', "new" and Ancient Greek, Greek κλασικός ''klasikόs'', "of the highest rank") was a Western cultural movement in the decorative arts, decorative a ...
out of all proportion to its limited circulation; in the later 18th century, motifs from Herculaneum began to appear on stylish furnishings, from decorative wall-paintings and tripod tables to perfume burners and teacups. However, excavation ceased after strong criticism in 1762 by
Winckelmann Johann Joachim Winckelmann (; ; 9 December 17178 June 1768) was a Germany, German art historian and archaeologist. He was a pioneering Hellenism (neoclassicism), Hellenist who first articulated the difference between Ancient Greek art, Greek, Hel ...

Winckelmann
of the treasure-hunting methods employed, and once the nearby town of Pompeii was discovered which was significantly easier to excavate because of the thinner layer of debris covering the site (4 m as opposed to Herculaneum's 20 m). In 1828 under the new king
Francis IFrancis I or Francis the First may refer to: * Francesco I Gonzaga (1366–1407) * Francis I, Duke of Brittany (1414–1450), reigned 1442–1450 * Francis I of France (1494–1547), reigned 1515–1547 * Francis I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg (1510–15 ...

Francis I
, new excavations were begun in order to expose the remains to the open air and land was purchased, though this was stopped in 1837. Under the Italian government in 1868 further purchases of land were made and excavations proceeded eastwards till 1875. From 1927 until 1942 a new campaign of excavations was begun by Amedeo Maiuri under the
Mussolini
Mussolini
regime, which exposed about four hectares of the ancient city in the archaeological park that is visible today. Excavation resumed briefly in the town in 1980–81 on the ancient shoreline following which the skeletons in the so-called "boat houses" were found. From 1996–99 the large area to the north-west of the site was excavated and exposed, including part of the
Villa of the Papyri The Villa of the Papyri ( it, Villa dei Papiri, also known as ''Villa dei Pisoni'') was an ancient Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century A ...
, the north-west baths, the House of the Dionysian Reliefs and a large collapsed monument. This area was left in a chaotic state and from 2000–7 further work on conservation of this area was done. Many public and private buildings, including the forum complex, are yet to be excavated.


Site

The classical street layout separates the city into blocks (''
insulae The Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it ...
''), defined by the intersection of the east–west (cardi) and north–south (decumani) streets. Hence Insula II – Insula VII run counterclockwise from Insula II. To the east are two additional blocks: Orientalis I (oI) and Orientalis II (oII). To the south of Orientalis I (oI) lies one additional group of buildings known as the "Suburban District" (SD). Individual buildings having their own entrance number. For example, the House of the Deer is labelled (Ins IV, 3). The Forum, temples, theatre, numerous houses and necropolises are still buried in Herculaneum. The town was surrounded by walls from 2 to 3 metres thick, dating to the second century BC, and built mainly with large pebbles, except along the coast, where they were in
opus reticulatum ''Opus reticulatum'' in Pompeii ''Opus reticulatum'' (also known as reticulated work) is a form of brickwork Brickwork is masonry produced by a bricklayer, using bricks and Mortar (masonry), mortar. Typically, rows of bricks called ''Course ...
. As in Pompeii, the walls lost their defensive function after the Social War and were incorporated into buildings in their vicinity, for example the House of the Inn. A single main drain was found, along cardo III, which collected water from the Forum and from house
impluvium The ''impluvium'' is the sunken part of the atrium in a Greek or Roman house (''domus In ancient Rome, the ''domus'' (plural ''domūs'', genitive ''domūs'' or ''domī'') was the type of town house occupied by the upper classes and some w ...

impluvium
s, latrines and kitchens that overlooked this street, while other drains emptied directly into the street, except those of the latrines that were equipped with a cess pit. For water supply the city was directly connected to the Serino aqueduct, built in the Augustan age, which brought water to houses through a series of lead pipes under the roads, regulated by valves; previously, wells had been used which found water at a depth of between eight and ten metres. Herculaneum lay just above sea level, but now areas of the ancient city lie as much as 4 metres below sea level due to bradyseism which affects the whole Vesuvius area.


The House of Aristides (Ins II, 1)

The first building in insula II is the House of Aristides. The entrance opens directly onto the atrium, but the remains of the house are not particularly well preserved due to damage caused by previous excavations. The lower floor was probably used for storage.


The House of Argus (Ins II, 2)

The second house in insula II got its name from a fresco of Argus and Io which once adorned a reception room off the large peristyle. The fresco is now lost, but its name lives on. This building must have been one of the finer villas in Herculaneum. The discovery of the house in the late 1820s was notable because it was the first time a second floor had been unearthed in such detail. The excavation revealed a second floor balcony overlooking Cardo III, as well as wooden shelving and cupboards; however, with the passing of time, these elements have been lost.


The House of the Genius (Ins II, 3)

To the north of the House of Argus lies the House of the Genius. It has been only partially excavated but it appears to have been a spacious building. The house derives its name from the statue of a cupid that formed part of a candlestick. In the centre of the peristyle are the remains of a rectangular basin.


The House of the Alcove (Ins IV)

The house is actually two buildings joined together. As a consequence of this it is a mixture of plain and simple rooms combined with some highly decorated ones. The atrium is covered, so lacks the usual
impluvium The ''impluvium'' is the sunken part of the atrium in a Greek or Roman house (''domus In ancient Rome, the ''domus'' (plural ''domūs'', genitive ''domūs'' or ''domī'') was the type of town house occupied by the upper classes and some w ...

impluvium
. It retains its original flooring of
opus tesselatum
opus tesselatum
and
opus sectile ''Opus sectile'' is a form of pietra dura popularized in the ancient and medieval Roman world where materials were cut and inlay, inlaid into walls and floors to make a picture or pattern. Common materials were marble, nacre, mother of pearl, and ...

opus sectile
. Off the atrium is a biclinium richly decorated with frescoes in the fourth style and a large triclinium which originally had a marble floor. A number of other rooms, one of which is the apsed alcove after which the house was named, can be reached via a hall which gets its light from a small courtyard.


College of the Augustales

Temple of the augustales or priests of the
Imperial cult An imperial cult is a form of state religion A state religion (also called an established religion or official religion) is a religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations ...
.


Central Thermae

The Central Thermae were bath houses built around the first century AD. Bath houses were very common at that time, especially in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Per common practice, there were two different bath areas, one for men and the other for women. These houses were extremely popular, attracting many visitors daily. This cultural hub was also home to several works of art, which can be found in various areas of the Central Thermae site.


Villa of the Papyri

The most famous of the luxurious villas at Herculaneum is the "
Villa of the Papyri The Villa of the Papyri ( it, Villa dei Papiri, also known as ''Villa dei Pisoni'') was an ancient Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century A ...
." It was once identified as the magnificent seafront retreat for Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
's father-in-law; however, the objects thought to be associated with Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesonius correspond more closely to a greatly standardized assemblage, and cannot indicate, with certainty, the owner of the villa. The villa stretches down towards the sea in four terraces. Piso, a literate man who patronized poets and philosophers, built a fine library there, the only one to survive intact from antiquity. Between 1752 and 1754 a number of blackened unreadable papyrus scrolls were serendipitously recovered from the Villa of the Papyri by workmen. These scrolls became known as the Herculaneum papyri or scrolls, the majority of which are today stored at the National Library, Naples. The scrolls are badly carbonized, but a large number have been unrolled, with varying degrees of success. Computer-enhanced multi-spectral imaging, in the infra-red range, helps make the ink legible. There is now a real prospect that it will be possible to read the unopened rolls using X-rays. The same techniques could be applied to the rolls waiting to be discovered in the as-yet unexcavated part of the villa, eliminating the need for potentially damaging the rolls by unrolling them. In a later attempt to better read the writings on the scrolls, scientists put the scrolls through a CT scan. From this scan, scientists were able to see the structure of the scrolls' fiber, and see the sand and other dirt that had gotten into the scrolls through the years. Knowing the scrolls' structure made it easier to unroll without breaking. However, the text on the scrolls was still illegible. A team spent a month in summer 2009, making numerous X-ray scans of two of the rolls that are stored at the French National Academy in Paris. They hoped that computer processing would convert the scans into digital images showing the interiors of the rolls and revealing the ancient writing. They had hoped that re-scanning the rolls with more powerful X-ray equipment would reveal the text. The main fear, however, was that the Roman writers might have used carbon-based inks, which would be essentially invisible to the scans. That fear has turned out to be fact. However, subsequent X-rays produced nothing legible. In 2015, a group of researchers headed by Italian physicist Vito Mocella used the method of X-ray phase-contrast tomography, which allowed scientists to increase the contrast between the carbon ink and the carbon-based papyrus so that the words could be read along the outer surface of the papyrus. Scientists were able to read the words written in Greek on the scrolls, marking the beginning of "a revolution for papyrologists". While researchers can identify certain words on the scrolls, there is still a long way to go before the stories on the scrolls are unlocked.


Boathouses and the Shore

In 1980–82 excavations initially turned up more than 55 skeletons on the ancient beach (which was just in front of the town walls) and in the first six so-called boat sheds. Because all of the excavations in the town had revealed only a few skeletons, it was long thought that nearly all of the inhabitants had managed to escape, but this surprising discovery led to a change of view. The last inhabitants waiting for rescue from the sea were apparently killed instantly by the intense heat of the pyroclastic flow, despite being sheltered from direct impact. Study of victims' postures and the effects on their skeletons seemed to indicate that the first surge caused instant death as a result of fulminant shock due to a temperature of about . The intense heat caused contraction of hands and feet and possibly fracture of bones and teeth. After a period of mismanagement of the finds and deterioration of skeletons further excavations in the 1990s appeared to reveal a total of 296 skeletons huddled close together in 9 of the 12 stone vaults facing the sea and also on the beach, while the town was almost completely evacuated. The "Ring Lady" (see image), named for the rings on her fingers, was discovered in 1982. Eventually 340 bodies were identified in this area. Analysis of the skeletons suggest it was mainly men who died on the beach, while women and children sheltered and died in the boat houses. Research on the skeletons is continuing. Chemical analysis of the remains has led to greater insight into the health and nutrition of the Herculaneum population. Casts of skeletons were also produced, to replace the original bones after taphonomic study, scientific documentation and excavation. In contrast to Pompeii, where casts resembling the body features of the victims were produced by filling the body imprints in the ash deposit with plaster, the shape of corpses at Herculaneum could not be preserved, due to the rapid vaporisation and replacement of the flesh of the victims by the hot ash (ca. 500 °C). A cast of the skeletons unearthed within chamber 10 is on display at the Museum of Anthropology in Naples. Of exceptional interest is the recent analysis of one of the skeletons (no. 26) discovered in 1982 on the beach next to a naval boat (on display in the boat pavilion) which has identified it as that of a military officer (with an elaborate dagger and belt) perhaps involved in a mission to rescue residents. New excavations starting in 2021 will attempt to expose the western side of the ancient beach where more skeletons may be found.


Herculaneum versus Pompeii

Herculaneum is a city that there is now quite a bit of information on. However, for a while the city was eclipsed by the more well-known city of Pompeii. Although the cities are located a mere 13km apart, Pompeii is often more popular in education systems than Herculaneum is. Herculaneum was discovered in 1709, whereas Pompeii wasn’t discovered until 39 years later in 1748. When Pompeii was discovered, a Russian named Karl Bryullov created an oil painting titled The Last Day of Pompeii which later inspired Edward Bulwer-Lytton to write his book
The Last Days of Pompeii ''The Last Days of Pompeii'' is a novel written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, PC (25 May 1803 – 18 January 1873) was an English writer and politician. He served as a Whig member of ...

The Last Days of Pompeii
in 1834; both of which helped boost Pompeii’s popularity. Pompeii’s discovery caused excavations in Herculaneum to stop until the 1920s. This was due to the depth at which both cities were buried. While Herculaneum was buried underneath 20 meters of thick pyroclastic material, Pompeii was only covered with 4 meters of thinner ash, making it a significantly easier site to excavate. Not only was Herculaneum brushed to the side due to Pompeii’s ease of access, but Johann Joachim Winckelmann also had quite a large impact on Herculaneum’s stopped excavations. Winckelmann was a well-respected traveler of the time and was frustrated that he had so much difficulty gaining access to the findings and materials at Herculaneum. He didn’t like the fact that the importance of cultural tourism was being ignored. He also strongly criticized the fact that those pieces excavated that weren’t being taken back to the palace were being destroyed. He ranted on about how important archeological context is and how destroying frescoes so they couldn’t be sold off to foreigners was wrong and could mess with said context. Winckelmann created as much of a fuss as he could in an effort to get the excavations to stop, and it worked. The reason it worked was because the current ruler in place was a young child,
Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies Ferdinand I (12 January 1751 – 4 January 1825), was the King of the Two Sicilies of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg, Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the tit ...
. Ferdinand had been left to rule from 1759 to 1816 as his father went to go become Charles III of Spain. Due to young Ferdinand’s lack of ability to deal with harsh criticism, he gave into Winckelmann’s demands and slowed the excavations at Herculaneum. At the same time Herculaneum’s excavations were coming to a halt, Pompeii’s excavations were finally starting to pick up. Originally there had been a lack of artifacts due to the site being easier to excavate; this caused the site to have already been touched by looters who took many valuable artifacts. However, there was a major breakthrough when excavations finally struck the theatre of Pompeii. Due to the nature of Pompeii being closer to the surface, policies were adopted to keep the site open to visitors, effectively pleasing Winkelmann. With Pompeii’s easily accessible ‘open-air’ excavations, it became an interesting tourist attraction that many people began to visit. On the other hand, Herculaneum had deep tunnels that had to be traversed by torchlight and was therefore a much less interesting attraction that was easily dismissed from peoples’ minds.


Issues of conservation

The volcanic ash and debris covering Herculaneum, along with the extreme heat, left it in a remarkable state of preservation for over 1600 years. However, once excavations began, exposure to the elements began the slow process of deterioration. This was not helped by the methods of archaeology used earlier in the town's excavation, which generally centered on recovering valuable artifacts rather than ensuring the survival of all artifacts. In the early 1980s and under the direction of Dr. Sara C. Bisel, preservation of the skeletal remains became a high priority. The carbonised remains of organic materials, when exposed to the air, deteriorated over a matter of days, and destroyed many of the remains until a way of preserving them was formed. Today, tourism and vandalism have damaged many of the areas open to the public, and water damage coming from the modern
Ercolano Ercolano () is a town and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services ...

Ercolano
has undermined many of the foundations of the buildings. Reconstruction efforts have often proved counterproductive. However, in modern times conservation efforts have been more successful. Today excavations have been temporarily discontinued, in order to direct all funding to help save the city. A large number of artifacts from Herculaneum are preserved in the
Naples National Archaeological Museum The National Archaeological Museum of Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of and the third-largest city of , after and , with a population of 967,069 ...
.


Modern conservation

After years of mismanagement, Herculaneum fell into a dire state. However, in 2001, the Packard Humanities Institute began the Herculaneum Conservation Project, a private-public partnership. Initially the project set out to provide financial aid to the local authorities and address the truly critical areas of the site. Over time the goal changed to not only providing financial aid but to providing resources and skilled experts who could better tend to the site. The team went from addressing emergency conservation issues to creating a formula for the long term betterment of the site. Since 2001, the Herculaneum Conservation Project has been involved in multiple pilot conservation projects and has partnered with the British School in Rome to actively teach students how to maintain the site. One of the pilot projects started by the Conservation Project was on the tablinum that had been conserved by Maiuri's team in 1938. Over time water had managed to seep into the wall causing the paint to attach to the previously applied wax and curl away from the wall, stripping it of its color. However, after working in tandem with the Getty Museum, conservators have managed to create a technique where a series of solvents can be used to remove some of the wax and lessen the amount of buildup on the walls so that the paint no longer chips off of the walls.


UNESCO conservation

The city of Herculaneum has been excavated and worked on since the 18th century. Hoverer, Herculaneum didn’t become a protected UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
until 1997. UNESCO was drawn in by Herculaneum’s public architecture. The spacious palaestra, two public baths, the College of the Priests of Augustus, and a standard theatre. Herculaneum also had a seafront display and urban districts that had a very high level of preservation as well as great conservation of upper floors, all due to the pyroclastic material that had so thoroughly covered the city. With all of this impressive preservation that Herculaneum had, the site met UNESCO’s criterion III, IV, and V; allowing the site to become a UNESCO protected site. Herculaneum and the neighboring city of Pompeii, as well as the surrounding villas, are some of the most well-preserved Roman city ruins that have been documented at this time. UNESCO references how Herculaneum is a great example of both Roman urban and suburban settlements. UNESCO also praises how Herculaneum’s urban, architectural, decorative, and its aspects of daily life have helped archeologists piece together a timeline of Roman life from 1st century BC to 1st century AD. The intense rapidness of the destruction of the city along with the thick layers of pyroclastic material that covered the area created nearly perfect conditions for most everything to be preserved. However, this way of preservation has caused issues with the later excavations of the city. There is a constant risk of the uncovered remains starting to decay. The structures being excavated are centuries old and some are beginning to rot away and cave in in certain places. In order to fight to keep Herculaneum a safe and working site, UNESCO has put in several measures of protection for the area. To start off, all excavations in and around the site area must be approved by the World Heritage authorities. UNESCO had Law No. 1089 passed for both Pompeii and Herculaneum in 1939; this law protects all things with artistic and historical interest in the area. In 2004, Legislative Decree No. 42 was passed to extend Law No. 1089 to all areas surrounding Pompeii and Herculaneum. Not only does Herculaneum and its surrounding areas have preservation issues, but Herculaneum itself has many specific developmental restrictions, especially surrounding Mount Vesuvius. These restrictions limit what excavations can be done at the site, and they help to ensure the safety of the ancient city which currently lies mostly under a modern town in the area. Not only does UNESCO have its own laws and restrictions, but they also have many connections with the
Vesuvius National Park Vesuvius National Park ( it, Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio) is an Italian List of national parks of Italy, national park centered on the active volcano ''Mount Vesuvius, Vesuvius'', southeast from Naples. The park was founded on June 5, 1995 and cove ...
and with
Man and the Biosphere Programme Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) is an intergovernmental scientific program, launched in 1971 by UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éduca ...
. With the Vesuvius National Park’s ability to provide a broad setting of protection, and MAB Biosphere’s designative abilities to provide the framework for further coordination, they both work together with UNESCO to protect the site to the best of their abilities. UNESCO on its own is also constantly working on reconstruction efforts, specifically those surrounding the structures that are currently already unearthed. While the conservation efforts are still ongoing, Herculaneum has gone from one of the worst preserved UNESCO sites at risk of being put on the endangered list to becoming "a textbook case of successful archeological conservation".


Photos

File:Ercolano 2003.jpg, House Number 22 is noted for this outstanding summer
triclinium A ''triclinium'' (plural: ''triclinia'') is a formal dining room in a Ancient Rome, Roman building. The word is adopted from the Greek language, Greek ()—from (), "three", and (), a sort of couch or rather chaise longue. Each couch was sized ...

triclinium
with a
nymphaeum A ''nymphaeum'' or ''nymphaion'' ( grc, νυμφαῖον), in ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th ...

nymphaeum
decorated with coloured mosaics. File:Neptune Amphitrite mosaic Herculaneum.jpg, Herculaneum, Neptune and Salacia, wall mosaic in House Number 22 File:Roman Road Surface at Herculaneum.jpg, Street paving stones in Herculaneum File:Water Pipe In Herculaneum.jpg, Residential water pipe made of lead in Herculaneum File:Herculaneum Wall 1.Style.jpg, Wall paintings in the first style File:Herculaneum Floor.jpg, Inlaid marble floor File:Marcus-Nonius-Balbus-The-Elder-Resina-1908-Barker-Herculaneum.jpg,
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, found in dwellings of Resina/Herculaneum. File:Posthumous painted portrait of Cleopatra VII of Egypt, from Herculaneum, Italy.jpg, Most likely a posthumous painted portrait of
Cleopatra VII Cleopatra VII Philopator ( grc-gre, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ}; 69 BC10 August 30 BC) was queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basile ...
of
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with
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red hair
and her distinct facial features, wearing a royal
diadem A diadem is a type of crown '' File:서봉총 금관 금제드리개.jpg, The Seobongchong Golden Crown of Ancient Silla, which is 339th National Treasure of South Korea. It is basically following the standard type of Silla's Crown. It wa ...

diadem
and pearl-studded hairpins, from Roman Herculaneum, mid-1st century AD File:Runners MAN Napoli Inv5626-7 n02.jpg,
Bronze sculptures Image:Liu Ding.jpg, Chinese ritual bronze, a Late Shang ''Ding (vessel), dǐng''. Bronze is the most popular metal for Casting (metalworking), cast metal sculptures; a cast bronze sculpture is often called simply a "bronze". It can be used for ...

Bronze sculptures
of runners from the
Villa of the Papyri The Villa of the Papyri ( it, Villa dei Papiri, also known as ''Villa dei Pisoni'') was an ancient Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century A ...
at Herculaneum, now in the
Naples National Archaeological Museum The National Archaeological Museum of Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of and the third-largest city of , after and , with a population of 967,069 ...


Documentaries

* A 1987 ''National Geographic'' special, '' In the Shadow of Vesuvius'', explored the sites of
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The provides essential public services: of births and deaths, , and maintenan ...

Pompeii
and Herculaneum, interviewed archaeologists, and examined the events leading up to the eruption of Vesuvius. * The 2002 documentary "Herculaneum. An unlucky escape" is based on research of Pier Paolo Petrone, Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo and Mario Pagano. Co-production of DocLab Rome, Discovery Channel USA, France 3 – Taxi Brousse, Spiegel TV, Mediatred, 52'. * A 2004 documentary "Pompeii and the 79 AD eruption". TBS Channel Tokyo Broadcasting System, 120'. * An hour-long drama produced for the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
entitled '' Pompeii: The Last Day'' portrays several characters (with historically attested names, but fictional life-stories) living in Pompeii, Herculaneum and around the
Bay of Naples A bay is a recessed, coastal The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the sea or ocean, or as a line that forms the boundary between the land and the ocean The ocean (also the s ...
, and their last hours, including a fuller and his wife, two
gladiator A gladiator ( la, gladiator, "swordsman", from , "sword") was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run thr ...

gladiator
s, and
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
. It also portrays the facts of the eruption.
Channel 5">Pompeii Live, Five (channel), Channel 5
, 28 June 2006, 8pm, live archaeological dig at Pompeii and Herculaneum*
Marcellino de BaggisMarcellino is both a given name and a surname. Notable people with the name include: *Marcellino de Baggis (1971–2011), Italian cinematographer and director *Marcellino da Civezza (born 1822), Italian Franciscan author *Marcellino Gavilán (1909 ...
' 2007 documentary "Herculaneum: Diaries of Darkness and Light", Onionskin productions * The 2007 documentary "Troja ist überall: Auferstehung am Vesuv", Spiegel TV, 43'29 * "Secrets of the Dead: Herculaneum Uncovered" is a PBS show covering the archaeological discoveries at Herculaneum. * "Out of the Ashes: Recovering the Lost Library of Herculaneum" is a
KBYU-TV KBYU-TV, virtual channel 11 ( UHF digital channel 17), is a non-commercial educational independent television station serving Salt Lake City Salt Lake City (often shortened to Salt Lake and abbreviated as SLC) is the Capital (political), ...
documentary that traces the history of the Herculaneum papyri from the time of the eruption, to their discovery in 1752, to modern developments that impact their study. * "The Other Pompeii: Life and Death in Herculaneum" is a documentary presented by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, director of Herculaneum Conservation Project. * "Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time"Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time
/ref> is a 2013 BBC One drama documentary presented by Dr. Margaret Mountford. * "Pompeii: The New Revelations" was broadcast on UK TV channel 5 in 2021. * "Unearthed: Vesuvius' Secret Victim." Documents the city of Herculaneum and it's people. Reveals that over a thousand of Herculaneum's citizens had survived the eruption and settled in
Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of and the third-largest city of , after and , with a population of 967,069 within the city's administrative limits as of ...

Naples
and
Cumae Cumae ( grc, Κύμη, (Kumē) or or ; it, Cuma) was the first ancient Greek colony on the mainland of Italy, founded by settlers from Euboea in the 8th century BC and soon becoming one of the strongest colonies. It later became a rich Roma ...

Cumae
.


Notes


Further reading

* Brennan, B. 2018.''Herculaneum A Roman Town Reborn.'' Sydney: Ancient History Seminars. * Brennan, B. 2012. ''Herculaneum A Sourcebook.'' Sydney: Ancient History Seminars. * Capasso, L. 2001. ''I fuggiaschi di Ercolano. Paleobiologia delle vittime dell' eruzione vesuviana del 79 d.C.'' Roma: L'Erma di Bretschneider * Daehner, J., ed. 2007. ''The Herculaneum Women: History, Context, Identities.'' Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum. * De Carolis, E., and G. Patricelli. 2003. ''Vesuvius, A.D. 79: The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum.'' Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum. * Deiss, J. J. 1995. ''The Town of Hercules: A Buried Treasure Trove.'' Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum. * Lazer, E. 2009. ''Resurrecting Pompeii.'' London: Routledge. * Pace, S. 2000. ''Herculaneum and European Culture Between the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.'' Naples, Italy: Electa. * Pagano, M. 2000. ''Herculaneum: A Reasoned Archaeological Itinerary.'' Translated by A. Pesce. Naples, Italy: T&M. * Pagano, M., and A. Balasco. 2000. ''The Ancient Theatre of Herculaneum.'' Translated by C. Fordham. Naples, Italy: Electa. * Pirozzi, M. E. A. 2000. ''Herculaneum: The Excavations, Local History and Surroundings.'' Naples, Italy : Electa. * Scarth, A. 2009. ''Vesuvius: A Biography.'' Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. * Wallace-Hadrill, A. 2011. "The Monumental Centre of Herculaneum: In Search of the Identities of the Public Buildings." ''Journal of Roman Archaeology'' 24:121–160.


References

* National Geographic, Vol 162, No. 6. ''Buried Roman Town Give Up Its Dead,'' (December, 1982) * National Geographic, Vol 165, No 5. ''The Dead Do Tell Tales,'' (May, 1984) * Discover, magazine, Vol 5, No. 10. ''The Bone Lady'' (October, 1984) * The Mayo Alumnus, Vol 19, No. 2. ''An Archaeologist's Preliminary Report: Time Warp at Herculaneum,'' (April, 1983) * Carnegie Mellon Magazine, Vol 4, No. 2. ''Bone Lady Reconstructs People at Herculaneum,'' Winter, 1985 * ''In the Shadow of Vesuvius'' National Geographic Special, (11 February 1987) * ''30 years of National Geographic Special,'' (25 January 1995) * Petrone P.P., Fedele F. (a cura di), 2002. ''Vesuvio 79 A.D. Vita e morte ad Ercolano,'' Fridericiana Editrice Universitaria, Napoli. * Antonio Virgili, Culti misterici ed orientali a Pompei, Gangemi, Roma, 2008. * National Geographic, Vol 212, No. 3. ''Vesuvius. Asleep for Now,'' (September, 2006) http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/09/vesuvius/vesuvius-text


Resources

*
Pliny the Younger Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61 – c. 113), better known as Pliny the Younger (), was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study ...

Pliny the Younger
's letters on the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. to the Roman historian
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
from University of Arizona
Pliny the Younger, Letters 6.16 and 6.20 to Cornelius Tacitus
and in
Project Gutenberg Project Gutenberg (PG) is a volunteer Volunteering is a voluntary act of an individual or group freely giving time and labour for community service. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, educati ...

Letter LXV – To Tacitus


External links


The local archaeological authorities – Official website

Herculaneum Conservation Project – Official website

AD 79: Year of Destruction
*
62 Pompeii earthquake On 5 February AD 62, an earthquake of an estimated magnitude of between 5 and 6 and a maximum intensity of IX or X on the Mercalli scale struck the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, severely damaging them. The earthquake may have been a precursor t ...
*
Herculaneum papyri The Herculaneum papyri are more than 1,800 papyri Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically or chemically processing cellulose fibres derived from wood, Textile, rags, poac ...

Blogging Pompeii

The Friends of Herculaneum Society


* ttp://magazine.byu.edu/?act=view&a=43 Brigham Young University: Herculaneum Scrolls
Herculaneum
by Iain Dickson, 'Melvadius Macrinus Cugerni'
Herculaneum Uncovered
Documentary produced by the
PBS The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster Public broadcasting involves , and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is . In many countries of the world, comes from governments, especially vi ...
Series
Secrets of the Dead ''Secrets of the Dead'', produced by WNET WNET, virtual channel In most telecommunications organizations, a virtual channel is a method of remapping the ''program number'' as used in H.222 Program Association Tables and Program Mapping Tabl ...
*
Romano-Campanian Wall-Painting (English, Italian, Spanish and French introduction)

"Herculaneum Uncovered – A conversation with Andrew Wallace-Hadrill"
''Ideas Roadshow'', 2013 * {{Authority control Roman towns and cities in Italy Roman sites of Campania Destroyed cities Natural disaster ghost towns Archaeological parks Archaeological sites in Campania Coastal towns in Campania Museums of ancient Rome in Italy National museums of Italy Former populated places in Italy Populated places established in the 1st millennium BC 1st-millennium BC establishments in Italy Ercolano Heracles Human remains (archaeological) Mount Vesuvius 1738 archaeological discoveries World Heritage Sites in Italy 79 disestablishments Populated places disestablished in the 1st century