Herculaneum (hərkyəlāˈnēəm) [key], ancient city of S Italy, on the gulf of Naples at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius. Damaged by an earthquake in A.D. 63, it was completely buried, along with Pompeii, by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Before the earthquake, it was a popular Roman resort and residential town with fine villas. The first discovery of ruins was made in 1709, and excavations have continued since. Important early finds were the sumptuous so-called Villa of the Papyri (with a large library, and bronze and marble statues), a basilica with fine murals, and a theater. The modern towns of Resina and Portici are on the site.
See J. J. Deiss, Herculaneum (1966, repr. 1968).