There must have been many people heard of Pompeii – a ruin of a partially buried Roman city state near Napoli, Italy, now in the Campania region of the Pompei commune destroyed by a volcano, but Today’s story is not about this place, it takes place in another ancient Roman city, Herculaneum. The cities Herculaneum and Pompeii were destroyed in the same volcanic eruption, namely the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The two cities experienced the same outcome, but little is known of Herculaneum.
The ancient city of Pompeii was covered with 6 meters of volcanic ash and debris, but still retains the relatively complete original appearance of the city. The volcanic destruction at Herculaneum is completely different, the volcanic ash buried the city up to 20 meters thick, archaeologists found it even more mysterious than Pompeii. In the 18th century, an Italian peasant stumbled upon a wall while digging a well, and people realized that the ancient city of Herculaneum was hiding under their feet.
Nowadays, with the efforts of archaeologists, the excavations of the old city have yielded many results. They can almost restore what the city experienced in the short period of volcanic eruptions. It happened in AD 79 when Mount Vesuvius erupted large amounts of gas and debris into the air, reaching an altitude of 34 km. During the first 12 hours, due to the wind direction, the eruption was blown towards Pompeii in the volcano’s southeastern side.
Later, the volcanic ash column collapsed and a large amount of volcanic ash and hot gas formed a rising wave that struck Herculaneum at night. At that time, every resident of the city was terrified and fled, but many of them were buried under these eruptions. A volcanic eruption will spit out a variety of matter, such as large volcanic rock particles and volcanic ash with smaller particles, which and high-temperature gas form debris streams. Volcanic (Pyroclastic flow) destruction can reach speeds of up to 700 km per hour.
The volcanic debris that hit Herculaneum in the first wave reached 160 km per hour, which was not that fast, so the appearance of the city was essentially intact. Even so, when the city’s residents saw the dangers that came, they did not have much time to escape. In this disaster, a total of 6 volcanic debris flows poured in and completely buried the city.
After 2000, archaeologists dug deep into rooms in the ancient city of Herculaneum and found that the shape of all wooden furniture was still intact, but the material changed a lot – all both of them have been carbonized. Anyone who learns will know that carbonization requires high temperatures and isolation from oxygen, so obviously cities covered with volcanic debris will do. both of these conditions.
Scientists have found the same locally produced wood and used the same conditions to simulate carbonization after being buried by volcanic debris. Each experiment will increase by 50 degrees Celsius until the sample is processed and exposed under a microscope exhibiting features similar to objects found in this city.
The results of the experiment show that the carbonization temperature of these furniture is as high as 500 degrees Celsius. For comparison, let’s give another set of data: The temperature of a charcoal grill is about 250-340 degrees and the boiling range. of frying oil is from 200 – 330 degrees.
Under these conditions, many objects in Herculaneum were carbonized and unintentionally stored under ash. In addition to large door panels or wooden furniture, some papyrus documents have been preserved in a similar manner, and have become valuable documents for archaeological research.
There are also some other very interesting findings, such as carbonized figs, which could help researchers pinpoint the specific times of the disaster, and carbonized breads when they first come out. from the oven these things may also tell us about the Roman diet.
In fact, the “thermoplastic” heat that is as hot as 500 degrees is much more frightening than the flow from hell. Archaeologists have found a horrifying sight in arched architecture located near the sea, more than 300 skeletons are buried here and they still maintain their posture at death.
Among these people, there are some women still holding their children, some boys holding dogs, and some families in the flight position. According to archaeologists, this site is only 50 meters from the coast and maybe this is a small pier, these domed cave houses are actually places where boats often wait, but these people did not wait for the lifeboats, but simply took refuge.
Chances are they actually avoided the earthquakes before the volcano erupted, as the activity of Mount Vesuvius often caused earthquakes according to records. They may not know the volcano is erupting.
However, when the examiner examined the bones, they discovered more shocking things than that. Forensicists have discovered a number of bizarre phenomena in the skulls of some victims, which have broken and the broken parts appear irregular marks, which is not the same as damage caused by external forces.
Therefore, they speculated that fragmentation of the skull was caused by internal forces, i.e. the skull was exploded. The reason for the explosion was also very simple, the high temperature caused the brains of the victims to boil, the pressure in the cranial cavity increased sharply, leading to an explosion.
In addition, forensic doctors also discovered that the surface of these bones still had a strange red residue inside, containing iron and oxide Iron, these are traces of blood left behind after the muscles evaporate.
While the depictions may sound intimidating, in reality, these victims may be killed by the heat before feeling any pain. In addition, archaeologists have found a strange body in a hidden room.
The victim was found lying in bed, most of the cadaver’s bones were carbonized, and it was almost impossible to see human features, the forensic doctor found some strange glassy substances while observing. scene and photography. After laboratory tests, forensicists thought this was a highly concentrated fatty acid derived from brain tissue of the deceased.
This glassy material has never been discovered before, and scientists don’t know how to reproduce this change. Why didn’t this man in bed run away? Researchers believe that he may be ordered to stay here, and that his job may be to guard the structure. The moment of destruction not only freezes the suffering of the victims, but also reflects many social phenomena. Archaeologists have carefully examined the objects surrounding these skeletons, many of which are belongings they brought with them when they fled.
Some people not only wear a lot of jewelry but also carry precious gold and silver, obviously they are wealthy citizens with status in the city, on the contrary, there are a large number of victims who do not have any. whichever coal objects. they can be poor people or slaves.
Herculaneum with a population of 4,000 people, although not as prosperous as Pompeii, but also a very wealthy city at that time, this city was considered the resting place of many nobles, and there were many luxury villas in the city. important. The nobles had hundreds of slaves to serve, and there were also very clear distinctions between the rich and the poor. But in the face of disaster, everyone is equal, slaves and slave owners, the old and the children, men and women all return to the dead together.
So can anyone escape after the disaster? Obviously we can’t dig out all the bones and count them enough for 4,000 people. One possible method is to track survivors in the surrounding cities. In ancient Roman times, each city had its own surname, if you find them not in the local area of the city it meant immigrants. In addition, the Romans liked to engrave their names in conspicuous places in the home.
Archaeologists also found a stone with a list of the inhabitants of Herculaneum in a temple, if in these names some lineages appear elsewhere, they can basically confirm the surname. are the survivors of the disaster.
The results were, of course, as expected, the archaeologists found a person who had appeared on the list of the Herculaneum’s inhabitants in Naples. And he is most likely one of the survivors.
In addition, an inscription engraved in marble in Naples depicting a place called “Supreme King of Herculaneum”, also shows that a large number of Herculaneum’s people survived the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. and they started a new life in Naples.
Some historians believe many other survivors went to Kuma, a small town in the west, because according to records, Kuma was still deserted in 79 AD, but it grew rapidly after. year 81 AD. They built squares, boulevards, diversion channels and other constructions. Previously, we only knew that the eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed two cities and left graves full of corpses.
But in the present time it can be seen that a large number of survivors went to different places to start a new life, leaving behind traces of life in the La Empire. Ma, as well as horror stories that remind us of this disaster.