Beach buried by Vesuvius eruption 2000 years ago, now open

Everyone has heard of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the deadliest in history, which killed entire towns and encapsulated them forever in solidified lava.  

Now, an ancient Roman beach that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius has reopened to the public at Herculaneum archaeological park. 

The beach has been reinstated after conservation work in recent years restored its original level, bringing back sand – aimed at offering visitors the experience of walking along the beach almost as it was before the eruption, reports The Guardian. 

“The ancient beach is an extraordinary and unique place in the world,” said Francesco Sirano, the director of the archaeological park. “If we look towards where the sea once was, we become modern explorers of the immense blanket of volcanic flow that covered the city in a few hours, almost sharing the sense of total annihilation.”

Herculaneum is a smaller and less well-known site than nearby Pompeii, and unlike its neighbour, the first victims of Vesuvius were only discovered there during excavations in the 1980s and 90s when over 300 skeletons were found across several boat sheds, where they were believed to have been sheltering while they waited to be rescued at sea by the army of Pliny the Elder, the Roman naval commander who attempted to save the inhabitants of both cities.

One of the victims was named the “ring lady” because of the jewellery found on her fingers.

Herculaneum, which was rediscovered during the digging of a well in the early 18th century, is said to have been wealthier than Pompeii, and lavish villas decorated with frescoes and mosaic floors have been uncovered.

Archeologists have found organic matter of fruit and bread as well as wooden furniture and hundreds of charred papyrus scrolls – one such scroll shed light on the final hours of Plato. 

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