city buried by mount Vesuvius eruption of
August 24th, 79 AD
Herculaneum. It is located in modern city of
Torre Annunziata. The most famous feature of Oplontis is Villa Poppaea once owned by
second wife of emperor Nero. Poppaea Sabina did not live to see the
destruction of her beloved home. In 65 AD she was killed by her husband
who kicked her in the abdomen in the late stages of her pregnancy
according to Suetonius. After death of Nero in 69 AD the Oplontis villa changed
hands was probably in the state of reconstruction when eruption
happened. Roof tiles were preserved thus preventing massive damages to
the frescoes inside villa that are some for the most colorful and
beautiful left since the Ancient Roman Empire. Although coins and jewelry
were found inside the house, archaeologists did not discover remains of
human victims. This led to suggestion that the inhabitants of the
had enough sense to abandon riches of the private residence and flee for
Wooden seats was not get preserved, but gutter is still visible.
Villa of L.
Crassius Tertius aka Vila B of Oplontis
Villa of L.
Crassius Tertius aka Vila B of Oplontis has kept an interesting secret since
the eruption. On that August day mount Vesuvius quickly spew
tons of ash and geologic material into air. The skies over Bay
of Naples made everything dark. There was virtually no way to
get out of here without a torch or a lamp. Volcanic pumice was
falling down. So many decided to hide in the underground
structures. Unfortunately this proved to be a costly mistake.
Over 50 people were entombed in their underground hiding place.
One of the most striking things about this cache
of skeletons in this part of Oplontis is a distinct difference in the social classes.
Survivors of the first wave of an eruption even in a face of
deadly threat separated into two groups. One was obviously rich,
while another was obviously very poor. While analysis of both
groups of skeletons showed relatively good nutrition and similar
state of health, the items they took with them very different.
Many in the rich group had golden bracelets, ear rings, silver
and gold coins. One of the women carried over a sum that was
equivalent to 10 years of annual pay to a regular Roman
legionnaire. Another difference that divided the two groups was
ironically the color of their bones. Those who had many bronze
coins and bronze items had their bodies covered in a superficial
patina of green color. Green color came from the oxidized metal
that over time seeped through ground and covered bodies of its
former owners. The poor group did not have none of such
One of the surprising things that were discovered
here two bodies of victims of obvious Sub- Saharan African
descent. One man and one women were actually present in the rich
group of skeletons. The body of a man, just like many other
bodies of his class were covered by green patina indicating that
he was buried along with some personal treasure.
One of the saddest archeological findings in Oplontis also
lie near by. It is body of a woman who was pregnant at the time
of the eruption. She obviously couldn't run from the danger and
instead decided to stay in the cellar. It spelled here doom as
well as death to her unborn child. Little bones that were
discovered next to her indicated that she was in he ninth or
eight month of pregnancy and was supposed to give birth very
soon. She and her child were sealed underground where they died.