Herculaneum hərkyəlā´nēəm [key], ancient city of S Italy, on the gulf of Naples at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius. Damaged by an earthquake in AD 63, it was completely buried, along with Pompeii , by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 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).

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