added by archaeologs An ancient city of Campania, Italy, that was buried by the same volcano in 79 AD that took Pompeii. Already damaged by Vesuvius in 63 AD, Herculaneum was home to 5000 people. It had modern houses, tastefully decorated, and it was wealthier than Pompeii. In the destruction of 79 AD, the town was covered in liquid mud which subsequently solidified after percolating and filling structures. It tended to preserve organic materials, especially timber. The houses are remarkable for the preservation of internal and external structures in timber, and, in some cases, of furniture and fittings. Also found are papyri and a library containing the works of Epicurus. Herculaneum probably started as an Archaic Greek foundation.
added by archaeologs [Modern Ercolano], A small but wealthy and sophisticated Roman seaside town 8 km from Naples which, like Pompeii, was damaged in the earthquake of 63 ad and destroyed in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79. For beginnings, we have the option perhaps either of an original Greek settlement, or of an Oscan town onto which a Greek commercial centre was grafted. Etruscan and Samnite influences followed as in the rest of Campania, and Herculaneum finally became a Roman municipium in 89 bc. In the destruction of 79 ad, the deposit that reached Herculaneum, unlike the pumice and ash that rained upon Pompeii, was largely a slurry of liquid mud which subsequently solidified into a tufa-life consistency. This mud deposit, accumulating in parts to a depth of 20 metres or more, percolated and filled structures but tended to preserve organic materials, especially timber. The site, which was perhaps something of a promontory between two torrents before the eruption, was literally obliterated by the mud, and became a featureless expanse. This, together with the great depth, must have discouraged immediate attempts at recovery or treasure-hunting. The 18th century onward saw a resolute programme of well- and tunneldigging, often conducted with great bravado and panache, which led to the creation of an amazingly complex network of underground passages, which might be visited by the intrepid. The subsequent ‘more conventional’ excavations of the 19th century and the continuing modem excavations have had to face not only the problem of the removal of so vast a deposit, but also the complication and damage caused by these ‘miners’ and their cuniculi. The general impression is of a town quieter and less commercial than Pompeii, with fishing suggested as its main industry. The absence of the wheel-ruts and stepping stones so common at Pompeii and the apparent use of blocking bollards have led to the suggestion of a traffic-free area for the central zone. The houses are remarkable for the preservation of internal and external structures in timber, and, in some cases, of furniture and fittings.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983