The courtyard of a house in Herculaneum. I'm not sure what this one was called, but it was quite large and very opulent; or was, when it was in use. Herculaneum was a small town with approximately four or five thousand inhabitants, which lies at the western base of Mount Vesuvius and was destroyed in the same eruption of August, 79 AD. The modern down of Ercolano is now home to almost 60,000 people! so another eruption of equal magnitude would be far more devastating. Excavation of this site only began in 1738, quite a bit later than in Pompeii, under the patronage of the King of the Two Sicilies. Herculaneum lies under more than 60 feet of volcanic debris, and much of the town literally had to be chiseled out of the dense pyroclastic material, making excavation much more difficult than in nearby Pompeii. Herculaneum seems to have been more of a wealthy residential area only about one third the size of Pompeii, rather than an important commercial center. It thus lacks a central forum and there are significantly fewer shops, but there's a much greater variety of houses here, many of which differ from those of Pompeii. Much of the town probably remains buried beneath the modern town of Ercolano, however, so there may be many other features that wait to be discovered... Incredibly, various wooden items survived the destruction of the town in 79 AD, including bedframes, wooden chests and even a wooden cradle. The original wood was carbonized by the pyroclastic flow that engulfed the entire town sometime during the night. The immense heat scorched everything it touched but it also kept organic material from "burning," so it preserved the items and encased them in ash for centuries.
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