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Artwork showing destruction of Pompeii, AD79

Artwork showing destruction of Pompeii, AD79

E380/0233

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Credit

DAVID HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Illustration depicting the destruction of Pompeii. The volcano Vesuvius erupted on 24 August, AD79. Over the next 24 hours, the nearby prosperous Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed. Pompeii was buried under up to 8 metres of ash and pumice. Over 2000 skeletons have been discovered there, many in voids in the compacted ash left by the decomposed body tissue. Herculaneum was flooded by a thick lahar (mudflow), in places 20 metres deep. This was the first eruption accurately recorded in western civilisation, as the whole episode was chronicled by Pliny the Younger. The last eruption of Vesuvius, near Naples, Italy, was in 1944.

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