Herculaneum was buried on the second day of the eruption of Vesuvius in the year 79 CE. Most of its inhabitants escaped death by leaving on the first day, as of its 4000 residents only some 350 skeletons have been recovered and few are likely to remain. In addition, because it was spared much of the damage caused by falling stone and then covered to a depth of 20 meters from six flows, we have much more of the perishable material: lintels, furniture, doors, carts and even papyrus writings survived the volcano’s wrath. Most of these are in the The National Archaeological Museum of Naples As a result of this preservation we learned a great deal about the daily life of its residents. For more information see What Was Normal Life Like In Pompeii Before Its Destruction? | Pompeii with Mary Beard

Herculaneum was named after Hercules. The town was home to wealthy residents seeking a summer beach venue. It dates from the 7thc BCE, when it was founded by the Oscans. The Etruscans took over until the the rise Greeks took over, and then came the Romans.

Herculaneum-  view fom above
View from the top of the ash that covered Herculaneum. Quite the heap!
Herculaneum, two figures
Superbly preserved fresco in Herculaneum
male etc wall paint
Another great fresco in Herculaneum
Herculaneum statute
Proconsul Marcus Nonius Balbus

skeletons in Herculaneum
Remains at what was then the beach

The Villa of the Papyri is the luxurious dwelling on the seashore. It may have belonged to consul┬áLucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus,┬áJulius Caesar’s father-in-law. The library that survived nearly intact, and has been digitized.

Herculaneum, one of 1800 paprus books found, Tesoro_letterario_di_Ercolano_p27
One of the papyrus from the library.

The Greek Temples of Selinunte

March 31, 2019


On the coast just 20km from my ancestral town of Partanna and 50km from the port of  Marsala you find the archaeological area called Selinunte.  http://selinunte.gov.it/ It dates from 450 BCE.  It has some of the finest Greek ruins anywhere. 


Temple E

Temple F, sitting right on the coast



Selinunte was a moderately-sized town, surprising given the scale of construction they undertook.  The Greeks founded it in the seventh century BCE,  locating it on the coast.  In 409 BCE Carthaginians sacked Selinunte, then earthquakes in the middle ages damaged or toppled the remaining structures.  English archaeologists began excavations in the late 1800’s.  Excavation continues.  Sculpture panels from a temple frieze are in the archaeological museum in Palermo.


Temple E as it likely was. Much of the building had no roof, an interior temple housed the worshiped gods

The angora, market area

Temple d



Plan of Selinunte


There is an excellent museum which contains well translated exhibits as well as various remnants including a pediment atop tall columns.  Upon this structure they project a slide show.  It is superbly done and the highlight of our visit.  We videoed part of the show.  The handheld camera  can not duplicate the experience for you but at least gives you some idea of what it’s like.



[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q57WGNYAg8M[/embedyt]


There is an extensive wiki on the town https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selinunte


If you want to thoroughly explore the site you need 3-4 hours if you walk.  There is a motorized vehicle if you prefer, with a taped tour.