Introduction

       

    

Letter to the Editor, The Times, 30 March 2016

Read the Letter to the Editor, Herculaneum Fears, co-authored by Professors Robert Fowler, Daniel Delattre, Roger Macfarlane, Carol Mattusch, Dirk Obbink, David Sider, and Nigel Wilson here. 

News, The Times, 30 March 2016

Read in the News, Plea to save scrolls buried by Vesuvius by Oliver Moody, Science Correspondent, The Times here. 


 

 
On the 24th of August, AD 79, Herculaneum, along with the neighbouring towns of Pompeii, Stabiae, Oplontis and others, was destroyed in a cataclysmic eruption of the active volcano on Mt. Vesuvius.
 
Deserted and forgotten after the eruption, the ancient site was rediscovered in the eighteenth century. In spite of the hazards, it was explored by means of tunnels dug into and through the buildings. Among the many precious finds was one almost beyond belief. In the Villa of the Papyri, some 1800 scrolls were discovered the only library from the ancient Greco-Roman world to survive into the modern era.
 


Herculaneum Papyrus 1428: Philodemus, On Piety

 

The finds continue. In the late 20th century, archaeologists discovered that the seafront warehouses were filled with the skeletons of people who had hoped to escape the volcanic eruption engulfing their town by setting out to sea.

The pyroclastic rockslides that engulfed the town were sufficiently hot to carbonise organic material and cause the instant death of anyone still in the town at that point.

 

 

'Boathouses' by the ancient shoreline of Herculaneum, find spot of skeletons.

 

Though this layer of rock has preserved the remains of Herculaneum very well over the last two millennia, it has also proved very difficult to remove. This makes it a difficult site to excavate and, once excavated, much work needs to be done to safeguard what has been uncovered. Herculaneum is, therefore, is one of the most challenging and exciting prospects for classical archaeology.

This is where the Friends of Herculaneum are playing an important role.

The Society is actively engaged in raising public awareness about Herculaneum, supporting research and promoting conservation of the site, its built heritage and the objects that are uncovered there.

You can become part of the on-going work of the Society. Join us today and have access to a range of exciting opportunities to find out more about Herculaneum through scholarship, events and expert-led site visits that take you behind the scenes.

There are also opportunities to make a contribution to one of the exciting projects that the Society funds in association with the Herculaneum Superintendency and other partners.

For the website of our affiliated organisation, the American Friends of Herculaneum, please click here.