In 79 CE the huge volcanic eruption of Vesuvius, which towers over the Gulf of Naples in Italy, buried under a rain of ash the Roman provincial town of Pompeii and the smaller, wealthier resort of nearby Herculaneum. There they remained for centuries, abandoned, buried and forgotten. Parts of Herculaneum were discovered in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, only to be reburied. However, in 1738 the Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre began the first concerted excavation there after workmen under his direction discovered remains while digging foundations for a palace for the King of Naples. In 1748 Alcubierre discovered Pompeii. As the two Roman towns were gradually uncovered, many visitors came from all over Europe ...

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