Nowadays, we know about volcanoes and the damage they can do. If one erupts, the people who live in that area are well aware of what is happening and what to do but back then, they would have had no idea what it was. They knew the whole town of Pompeii was destroyed, never dreaming that the following day a totally different type of destruction was on it's way.
Monday, 9 August 2010
Step back in time
And so I return to an Italian theme for my blog post! We only went on one organised tour while we were away, a half day trip to Herculanium. A town that was destroyed when Vesuvius erupted about 2000 years ago. The most famous ruins in that area are Pompeii which is a huge excavation project but Herculanium is much smaller and better preserved. Herculanium was buried by 20ft of boiling volcanic mud the day after the eruption but because the mud slid into the town rather than having rocks and gasses fall at force from the sky like happened at Pompeii the buildings are better preserved. The area is much smaller there and you can literally see the whole thing in a half day. My husband is the more historically minded of the two of us but I have to say that the visit here really touched me. I really got the feeling of how day to day life was in that area thousands of years ago. The cobbled streets are intact and you suddenly realise that 2000 years ago, people were going about their everyday business, walking on those same stones.
The archaeologists there thought the whole population had deserted the place and escaped after the first day of eruption as, unlike in Pompeii where many bodies were found, no evidence of people were found in any of the buildings they excavated. But recently they dug out the next area of excavation which was the storage area for boats on what was originally the harbour and found skeletons of about 300 people. Obviously trying to escape by sea but the mud slide had slid into the ocean, causing a tsunami and when the force of the water came back to shore, it brought all the mud back with it and where Herculaneum was once at the water's edge, there was now 2km of mud added to the shore line and they were trapped.
And so ends the history lesson. Normal blog writing will resume tomorrow!