Herculaneum today

Two thousand years ago, a volcano in southern Italy blew its top. Two Roman towns sat within 10 kilometres of Mount Vesuvius. The eruption wiped them off the map.

Pompeii was buried in volcanic ash. Herculaneum was covered in hot mud.

Living on a bomb

In AD 79, Herculaneum was a small seaside resort on the Bay of Naples. It had a beach and a small harbour. Romans liked to holiday there.