- from Pompeii
On August 24, A.D. 79, a festival in honor of the birthday of the late Emperor Augustus was happening in Herculaneum, a town near Pompeii.
Jugglers, street musicians, and acrobats were performing in front of big crowds. Athletic events were taking place in the sports arena. Plays were being rehearsed for evening performances. Snack bars were packed with customers buying walnuts, almonds, figs, dates, and hot foods.
As in Pompeii, all of a sudden and without any warning, a loud sound filled the air. Sensing a catastrophe, many began to flee toward the beach. There they were trapped between the ocean and the superhot river of pumice, ash, rocks, and gases that eventually devastated their town.
The volcanic outpouring sealed everything in, exactly as it was at the moment of disaster. As a result, we have a perfect time capsule of life in Herculaneum over 1,900 years ago.