Pompeii: Evidence rewrites Vesuvius eruption date

Pompeii: Evidence rewrites Vesuvius eruption date

Pompeii: Evidence rewrites Vesuvius eruption date

An inscription discovered on a house in the ruins of Pompeii suggests the city was destroyed by a volcanic eruption two months later than now believed.

"Being charcoal, fragile and evanescent, which could not last a long time, it is more than likely that it was written in October 79 AD", said Massimo Osanna, head of the Pompeii site.

While not listing a year, the graffiti reads: "XVI K Nov", meaning the 16th day before the calends of November, or October 17 in the modern calendar.

"It is highly probable that it can be dated to the October of AD 79, and more precisely to a week prior to the great catastrophe, which according to this hypothesis occurred on the 24th October", the archeology team said in a statement.

His letters describing the eruption, while exceptionally detailed, were written some 25 years after the event.

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Foods in the harvests of Pompeii and autumnal fruits on branches found in the ashen ruins had prompted speculation of a much later data than August since the 19th century, Mr Osanna said.

Some geological evidence also supports the theory of a later eruption date: based on the distribution of the different layers of ash, researchers believe that the wind was blowing from the east when Vesuvius erupted; yet easterlies don't typically blow in the Naples area during the summer.

Showing off the faint writing on an uncovered white wall, Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli hailed it as an "extraordinary discovery".

A construction worker's ancient jotting on a wall might rewrite the history books.

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