P Bradley Notes on Pompeii/Herculaneum

The nature of sources and Evidence – The Eruption
Outline the contribution of modern and ancient sources to our understanding of the eruption of Vesuvius and the fate of the inhabitants of Pompeii and Herculaneum
In your answer refer to
- Pliny the Younger’s letters
- The work of Haraldur Sigurdsson (Volcanologist)
- Evidence from humans remains (Pompeii and Herculaneum)
P Bradley Ch5
- Things to consider
- Importance of Pliny the Younger as an eye witness
- The study of Human remains and artefacts in determining the fate of the inhabitants of the Vesuvian towns
- Contribution of vulcanologists to our understanding of the last days of Pompeii and Herculaneum

- Haraldur Sigurdsson (Volcanologist) conducted first systematic examination of the Vesuivus. They examined the stratigraphy of Pompeii and Herculaneum in order to reconstruct the sequence of events that occurred during the eruption.
- They compared their findings with Pliny the Younger’s written account of the eruption and they used it to establish a time sequence for the eruption.
- He obtained further evidence for what happened in 79AD by studying two modern eruption. He recognised similarities between the deposits left by these volcanoes and those in Pompeii and Herculaneum and offered a new interpretation of how these settlements were destroyed.
- The “phases” of the eruption were
- 1. The Plinian Phase – Pumice and ash were expelled from the crater to form a high eruption column that reached an estimated 33 km above the volcano.
- 2. The Nuee Ardente – Second phase of the eruption is identified as nuee ardent or glowing cloud.
- A pyroclastic surge – A hot moving cloud of ash and toxic gases that was blasted vertically into the sky and eventually collapsed to the ground. If spread out along the sides of the volcano at speeds f over 100km/h. Everything in its path was incinerated.
- Through the letters of Pliny the Younger, the stratigraphical evidence of the eruption...