Vesuvius, Pompei, Herculaneum: a lesson in natural history

Roberto Scandone, Lisetta Giacomelli


The eruption of Mount Vesuvius of 79 AD destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but preserved them from the deterioration of time. A large patrimony of knowledge was obtained with the development of new techniques of archeological excavation, which began in these areas in 1700. At the same time, the persistent activity of the volcano stimulated the birth of modern volcanology with the building of the first volcanological observatory in the world in 1841. The effects of the different volcanic phenomena during the eruption of 79 AD also made it possible to investigate the causes of death during an explosive eruption.

Overall the volcano and its activity have stimulated the advancement of different branches of human knowledge and the preservation of a cultural patrimony unrivaled in the world. This information can be used to develop interdisciplinary projects in schools aimed at better understanding the nature of volcanic hazard.


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