People who took refuge in stone boat sheds during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius died more slowly than those who did not hide, having accepted the most terrible and painful death.
During the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, the explosion did not immediately kill everyone in Herculaneum, a naval outpost of Pompeii. People managed to hide in stone boat sheds, where a more painful death awaited them: they were baked and suffocated for a long time. This is indicated by the results of recent studies.
Previously, it was believed that everyone who fled from the legendary eruption was instantly burned by a wave of incandescent volcanic gases and hot ash that covered the city. But a new analysis of the remains found in Herculaneum refutes this theory and tells of the slower and more terrible death of those who escaped from the shock wave.
Researchers examined bone structure and collagen levels in 152 people found in boat sheds. Scientists have found more collagen than expected, which means the victims did not just burn out in the heat of Vesuvius. The structure of their ribs suggests that the fugitives were exposed to colder temperatures than the city's streets at the time of the eruption. The blast temperature was estimated to be up to 480 ° C.
The new results paint a dire picture: the inhabitants of Herculaneum hid only to bake themselves alive, choking on toxic volcanic gas. The asylum turned out to be a torture chamber from which no one could get out, concludes the study's author, anthropologist Tim Thompson from Teesside University in Middlesbrough (England). Mostly women and children were hiding in the boathouses. The men were found on the coast near, where they launched boats to swim out of the fiery hell.