79 A.D. - Mount Vesuvius erupts, buries Pompeii and Herculaneum, 15,000 die.
There is a wonderful article in the Italian Tribune that is researching the cause of why people died. This young Italian scientist believes that the ash was not the sole cause of people’s immediate demise but that another cause has been discovered using modern scientific tools.
Pompeii is a 2000 year old city. And it was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of 79AD August 24th. For many years scientists have been watching the so called quiet mountain.
A new theory is being discussed and investigated about how the Pompeians died. Lava would not have left any body parts as they would have been burned. Ash and sulfur could but again it was the third eruption that did the residents in as they say.
Based on a scientific article being discussed among academics, high heat was the culprit. Many years the concept that ash killed the residents of Pompeii, which was based on the observations of the Roman historian: Pliny the Younger
Here is a synopsis of the article: About the eruption: Lava did NOT cause them to die. There certainly would not have been anything left if Lava was the cause of destruction. Lava is literally melted rock; much hotter than anything we could build could sustain.
Nor did the ash cause it. All of the bodies fell in place, on the exact same layer of ash. And the Ash had been falling for some time in the city and the people were able to survive it.
What killed them was the third eruption of the series of Eruptions. This eruption sprayed a thick cloud of noxious gas that was several hundred degrees Fahrenheit in temperature. Their lungs were literally cooked as soon as they breathed the air, and they fell in place.
It was only later when the ash piled high enough to bury the city and seal it in place. The Bodies decayed and left cavities in the ash, which at first puzzled archaeologists until one of them got the idea to fill the cavities with plaster to see if they made any discernible shapes.
These cavities turned out to be where the bodies had fallen. These plaster bodies resembling still life sculpted figures are astounding: a woman cradling her baby, an old man holding hands with his teenage son, A group of people who had fallen a couple yards from the city, trying desperately to outrun the noxious cloud (which travels in excess of 80 miles per hour, so it was an exercise in futility.)
Furthermore, the artifacts were carefully preserved and gave an unprecedented insight into the everyday life of Roman life. For example; numerous bowls were found scattered throughout the city bearing the insignia of certain restaurants, suggesting that Romans invented fast food 2000 years before McDonald’s or Burger King!
If you go to Pompeii and visit the city, you will see bakeries, butcher shops, farmers’ markets, and local merchants, along with private homes and other assorted remains of a very vibrant seacoast town.