Herculaneum - Vesuvius’s lesser known victim (29 May)
Interesting Facts about Herculaneum
HERCULANEUM, WHICH NEIGHBORS POMPEII, was destroyed in the same volcanic eruption in A.D. 79. Though in many ways it is the superior archaeological site, it has always been second in renown and visitation.
Instead of ash, Herculaneum was covered in feet of mud, which even better preserved the small port city. And because it was excavated later, much of the artwork and artifacts on display in Herculaneum are original, while many of Pompeii’s treasures were carted off to museums. The end in this city was just as unexpected and tragic. Several dozen residents sheltered in boathouses but perished in the intense heat. Their skeletons are still huddled together, some even carrying keys, suggesting they hoped to soon go home.
In the Ad Cucumas wine shop, large jugs line the wall and a surviving fresco lists prices for a pitcher of wine. The city was also home to an order of Roman priests who maintained the Collegium of the Augustales. Inside its remains are two frescoes depicting the deeds of Hercules, the divine Greek hero.
The huge gymnasium complex, or palaestra, has an open area surrounded by a portico. The cruciform swimming pool is still buried, but a deep, rectangular pool is visible.