Herculaneum was an ancient town, located in the modern-day comune of Ercolano, Campania, Italy. Herculaneum was buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
Like the nearby city of Pompeii, Herculaneum is famous as one of the few ancient cities to be preserved more or less intact as the ash that blanketed the town also protected it against looting and the elements. Although less well known today than Pompeii, it was the first, and for a long time the only, buried Vesuvian city to be found, while Pompeii was only revealed from 1748 and identified in 1763. Unlike Pompeii, the mainly pyroclastic material that covered Herculaneum carbonized and preserved more wood in objects such as roofs, beds, and doors, as well as other organic-based materials such as food and papyrus.
The traditional story is that the city was rediscovered by chance in 1709, during the digging of a well. Remnants of the city, however, were already found during earlier earthworks. In the first years after its rediscovery, tunnels were dug at the site by treasure hunters, and many artifacts were removed.