Imagine it’s the year 79. You’re walking in the city of Pompeii (pahm-PAY), in what is now Italy. Suddenly, you hear an explosion! A giant cloud of ash shoots from a nearby volcano. The ash heads your way—can you escape?
This scary scene describes the eruption of Mount Vesuvius (veh-SOO-vee-uhs) almost 2,000 years ago. When this volcano blew its top, ash, rock, and deadly gases rained down on Pompeii. Most people escaped, but about 2,000 people were killed. The city was soon covered by up to 20 feet of rock and ash.
As the ash cooled, it hardened. It formed a shell over Pompeii and preserved much of the city. Before long, Pompeii was forgotten.
Fast-forward to 1748. In that year, Pompeii was rediscovered. Archaeologists began unearthing buildings and other items. This work continues today— and it’s providing amazing new clues about Pompeii and its people.