Pompeii is now certain: the eruption of 79 AD occurred between 24 and 25 October

NoonJune 23, 2022 – 11:03 am

The hypothesis handed down by Pliny the Younger and which dated the catastrophe to August 24th has been refuted. The final word put by Ingv with Cnr-Igag, University of Pisa, Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans of Clermont-Ferrand and Heriot-Watt University of Edinburgh

from Natasha Festa

An important novelty between archeology and science. The end of Pompeii would have occurred not in the heart of summer, as has always been believed, but in the autumn of 79 AD. C., precisely between 24 and 25 October. He had already talked about it some time ago but the confirmation comes from an Italian-led research published in Earth-Science Reviews, which reconstructed all the phases of the devastating eruption that spread the ashes as far as Greece. Now, therefore, there is also the authority of a survey published in the prestigious scientific journal.

The authors of the study

The two-month shift of the catastrophe comes from a study carried out to provide tools to mitigate the risk of eruptions. It was signed by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in collaboration with Cnr-Igag, University of Pisa, Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans of Clermont-Ferrand and Heriot-Watt University of Edinburgh. In the geological history and in the tout court history of Vesuvius it is the most devastating eruption that has profoundly changed the morphology of the volcano. Not only Pompeii, which is the most famous of the ghost cities: the volcano also destroyed Herculaneum, Stabiae and Oplontis, which only in the eighteenth century were slowly restored from the earth with subsequent excavations and still in progress.

The discovery of the charred fruit

The location of the catastrophic event in August has traditionally been deduced from a letter from Pliny the Younger in which we read the ninth day of September that is, nine days before the Kalends of September, a date which corresponds to August 24th. Only in 2010, based on some new finds that came out of the excavations in the Pompeii Archaeological Park, did we begin to hypothesize a shift towards autumn. In particular, it was the discovery of carbonized dried fruit, of braziers used at the time for heating, of wine (or rather of must to be precise) in the aging phase still found sealed in the “dolia”, typical containers.

The epigraph in charcoal

It is not enough. As often happens, it is the coins that tell the story incontrovertibly. And in Pompeii it was found one of the fifteenth acclamation of Titus as emperor, which took place after 8 September 79. Finally, in 2018, the charcoal inscription was found with the date of 17 October. And it was this: XVI (ante) K (alendas) Nov (embres) in]d]ulsit / pro masumis esurit]ioni]or October 17 he indulged in food in an immoderate way. It was probably – it has been hypothesized by scholars – of a worker who worked in a house under renovation or construction. The very volatile charcoal so it was believed that after a while the writing was submerged in ash and saved forever.

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23 June 2022 | 11:03

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