CAUTION: One photo viewer's may find disturbing!
Herculaneum was an ancient roman town destroyed, buried under several meters of volcanic mud and overwhelmed by clouds of scorching gas generated from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79.
The town remained hidden until the 18th century when the digging of a deep well revealed some exceptional statues. However, excavation ceased once the nearby town of Pompeii was discovered, which was significantly easier to excavate because of the thinner layer of debris covering the site but from the 20th century a new campaign of excavations began which exposed about four hectares of the ancient city including boathouses lining an ancient shore... that's a brief resume of the excavation timescale but more comprehensive detail can be found online.
We've never actually walked a roman town so this provided an absolutely fantastic experience and one never to be forgotten as we were able to walk down actual streets lined with shops, houses, villas, taverns, baths and bakery.
a high street
With limited tools it really made us wonder how on earth the Romans completed such grand and tall buildings complete with columns, arches, rendering and guttering.
inside one of the rooms
So much has been preserved due to the lack of air and moisture; wooden joists remain albeit a bit scorched. There are remains of roofs, doors, street signs, shop signs, ovens, grain mills and several walls highly decorated with frescoes depicting everyday events. Then there are floor mosaics made with the tiniest of tiles and in just fabulous condition. We were speechless with the occasional vocal word of WOW, amazing, incredible.
look at the depth of this skimmed wall, wow!
the public house with marble-covered counter, serving hot food and drinks
The reality of the destruction really hit home when we reached the boat houses only to find the remains of human skeletons both young and old. Brave souls that possibly decided to take shelter from the eruption and hope that they would be rescued but never actually survived due to the extreme heat of the gases.
A visit to Herculaneum certainly provided an extraordinary insight into the life of a roman town. Brilliant and another highlight.