Mount Vesuvius

A plaster cast of a Vesuvius victim

Mount Vesuvius, a composite volcano, erupted in AD79 and killed thousands of people in the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Archaeologists have discovered hollows in the volcanic ash where the victims' bodies fell and eventually decayed. They have filled these cavities with plaster to see the outline of their final resting places.

For many years it was assumed that lava killed the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but volcanologists later discovered it was something far more deadly. Learn more about Mount Vesuvius and its historic eruption with the videos below.

Image: A plaster cast of a Roman Vesuvius victim in Pompeii (inset); A computer-generated graphic of the eruption (main image)

Inset image credit: Science Photo Library

Introduction

A plaster cast of a Vesuvius victim Mount Vesuvius

TV clips (4)

Subjects in this collection

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