TONY CRADDOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TONY CRADDOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Roman fresco on the wall of the Sede Degli Augustali villa in the Roman city of Herculaneum, in southern Italy. A fresco is constructed by applying coloured pigments dissolved in water to a wet, lime-plastered wall surface. A chemical reaction between the pigments and the plaster makes the picture a permanent part of the wall. Herculaneum was a small, wealthy city on the slopes of the volcano Mount Vesuvius. It was largely decimated by an eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79, which covered it in volcanic debris. Excavations of Herculaneum begun in 1738 and have revealed richly-adorned villas containing well- preserved mosaics, sculptures and paintings.
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