The excavations of Herculaneum, Palatial Roman Villa, Banwell Caves

Fareeha Arshad
The ruins of HerculaneumGraham Hobster from Pixabay

1. The excavations of Herculaneum

Pompeii was an ancient city in present-day Italy destroyed in 79 A.D. after a dreadful volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius. Though people are aware of this horrific event, very few are aware that on the same day, another city, Herculaneum, was also destroyed because of this eruption.

On the day of the fateful event, when Pompeii was covered in ash immediately after the eruption, Herculaneum, a wealthy city, observed a similar fate after twelve hours. Upwind took hold of the town surrounding it with rock, ash, and volcanic gas. The heat was so much so that the entire city of Herculaneum was instantaneously carbonized. The city was well-preserved and long forgotten until the eighteenth century.

In the early 1700s, a farmer discovered beautiful stoneworks while her dug a well in his field. Soon it was concluded that he had accidentally found the remnants of Herculaneum that peacefully laid below his land for more than a millennium. Since then, several tunnels have been dug around the place to remove precious artefacts and have been well preserved.

2. The excavations of Palatial Roman Villa

In early 2016, while Luke Irwin and his wife were transforming their old barn in England into a room to play table tennis, they unexpectedly discovered a palatial Roman villa in the area of their property.

While the electricians lay underground cables for electricity supply for their table tennis room, they coincidentally drilled into a hard layer of mysterious structures. When they uncovered those structures, they found a layer of strange mosaic pieces.

Soon, Irwin’s house was filled with eager archaeologists who carried out their excavation to discover that those mosaic structures were, in fact, a part of a well-preserved from the late second or the early third century. Further digging revealed expensive pots, historical coins, unusual brooches, and several bones. It has been estimated that the villa collapsed more than 1500 years ago and had remained untouched ever since until the recent discovery.

3. The excavations of Banwell Caves
Banwell CavesWikimedia Commons

The ‘Stalactite Cave’ and the ‘Bone Cave’ make up the Banwell Caves. Though the Stalactite Cave was first discovered in 1757, it wasn’t until 1824 that it was opened for a local school fundraising event. While the second cave, the Bone Cave, was accidentally discovered in 1825 while developing a more accessible entrance for the Stalactite Cave. When the Bone Cave was located, several bones of different animals as old as 80,000 years were also unearthed in the area. Thus, this cave was named the ‘Bone’ Cave.

These caves were discovered originally belonged to George Henry Law, a bishop of Bath and Wells. He believed that the bones found were of the animals that drowned during Noah’s flood, as described in the Book of Genesis. The caves were open to the public until 1865, after which they were shut down to preserve the area better.

What are some of the other excavations that have revealed a lot about historical societies and cultures? Do let us know in the comment section.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

Texas State

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