Monday, November 10, 2014


Herculaneum is the smaller, better preserved, sister site to Pompeii.  Both were simultaneously destroyed and preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.  I've heard many people suggest that if you only visit one, then Herculaneum is the site to see.  I think you should see them both - Pompeii is sprawling and massive.  The scale of the site is tremendous and you can literally get lost among the ruins.  Herculaneum was covered by hot ash and gases, not by tonnes of rubble, so the buildings are more complete, often with second and third stories in tact and the extreme heat charred and preserved a lot of wood as well.  

Considering it was destroyed nearly 2000 years ago, it's remarkably easy to picture Herculaneum as a living vibrant port city.

The blackened timbers are original wood.  The painted figures and advertising on the walls are original, too.

Mosaic floors were everywhere and tended to be more complete than what we saw in Pompeii.

A glimpse inside a second story room. 
These blackened doors are the original charred wood remains.

I've seen houses listed for sale in worse condition.

Another tile floor

Metal grates in the windows are still in place.

Wooden shutters, lintels, and doors all preserved.

I think he's using the knife to pry out the spear.  He obviously studied medicine at the University of Talladega Nights.

On the way out of the town you can catch glimpses of the bodies of the townspeople killed in AD 79.  People were trapped by the sea as they tried to escape and only their bones remain.
 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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