Find suggests Pompeii eruption in Oct

Elias Hubbard
October 18, 2018

An inscription discovered on a house in the ruins of Pompeii suggests the city was destroyed by a volcanic eruption two months later than now believed.

But the newly-discovered charcoal inscription disputes this.

Historians have traditionally dated the disaster to August 24 79 AD, but excavations on the vast site in southern Italy have unearthed a charcoal inscription written on a wall that includes a date which corresponds to October 17.

Since charcoal is a "fragile and evanescent" material, it is very unlikely it could have been able to survive long, according to archeologists.

Tourists look down an ancient Roman cobbled street at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pompeii, October 13, 2015.

Archaeologists work on frescos during new excavations at the Pompeii archaeological site Italy
CIRO FUSCO AP Archaeologists work on frescos during new excavations at the Pompeii archaeological site Italy

What's more, it was found in a house that appears to have been in the process of being redecorated at the time Pompeii was destroyed, which suggests that it would have been plastered over shortly - had the occupants only had the time.

Historians have dated the eruption of Mount Vesuvius to 24 August 79 AD, based on contemporary writings and archaeological finds.

The evidence for an earlier eruption comes from the one and only eyewitness account, written by historian Pliny the Younger who, aged 17, observed the disaster from the other side of the Bay of Naples.

Showing off the faint writing on an uncovered white wall, Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli hailed it as an "extraordinary discovery".

Previous findings of chestnuts and woolly clothing hinted at a later date for the traumatic event.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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