Herculaneum was a city that, along with Pompeii, was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD.
The city was covered by 20 meters of lava. (The difference in ground level can be seen in the figure above). Originally, it was thought that the people of Herculaneum evacuated the town and escaped death, but in the 1990’s 300+ bodies were found in/or near the boat houses. It is presumed that the population swarmed to the boats but were unable to leave because of the rough sea.
One amazing thing that sets Herculaneum’s ruins apart from Pompeii’s is the petrification of wood. This is because the ash that buried Pompeii was extremely hot, thus burning the wood; while the muddy lava that covered Herculaneum was cooler. Pompeii was buried from top to bottom; the weight of the ash collapsing the roofs of it’s buildings. Herculaneum was covered from the ground up; the lava filled the houses, preserving the wooden structures.
The mosaics in Herculaneum are breathtaking. Made up of thousands of tiny pieces they are extremely complex and intricate, often depicting aquatic scenes. (The mosaic above is of Neptune and Amphitrite).