Today in History

On this day in 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and decimated the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy. An estimated 16000 people were killed in seconds as a result of the ejection of pulverized pumice and molten rock at the rate of 1.5 million tonnes per second. Both cities remained ‘lost’ until about 1599 and a greater expedition of the cities took place in 1748. It is stated that Pompeii was slightly ‘easier’ to excavate with only four metres of debris in comparison to Herculaneum that had twenty metres. There are some fantastic documentaries about this event that are well worth a watch. It is thought that the intense heat caused an instant rigor mortis that has allowed us a glimpse into these people from so long ago.

Pompeii the Last Days (BBC)

Herculaneum: The Other Pompeii

The Real Pompeii; National Geographic