PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Thermal baths in a Roman villa, Herculaneum. This is the ruined caldarium, or hot room, of the House of the Shelter, a large Roman villa in the ancient Italian town of Herculaneum. The caldarium was warmed by an underfloor heating system known as a hypocaust. The tiled floor, which has not survived, was suspended on pillars, and hot air from a furnace circulated in the space beneath. Herculaneum was destroyed in the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD. However, the thick layer of volcanic ash that buried the town preserved buildings, bodies and other artefacts.
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