Latest Issue of Science News


Ancient ash flow brought sudden death

When volcanic death swept down the slopes of Mount Vesuvius into the city of Herculaneum in A.D. 79, it arrived so quickly that some residents didn't even have time to flinch.

Researchers have excavated the skeletons of 80 victims who had sought shelter from the eruption in boathouses along the beach. The postures of these victims are relaxed and show no sign that these Herculaneans perceived immediate danger, says Alberto Incoronato, an archaeologist at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy. He and his colleagues describe their findings in the April 12 Nature.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.