The ancient town was founded in the 6th century b.C. from the Samnites, a couple of centuries later the Greeks took it posses and use it as trading port for its proximity with the gulf of Naples. The Samnites then won the city back untill the 89 BC, when Hercolaneum became a Roman colony. Named after Hercules, the Greeks believed Mountain Vesuvius has been founded by the God itself.
The pyroclastic flows in 79 AD buried totaly the city under a 20 meters thick layer of lava. Differently than Pompei, covered from pumice and ashes, at Hercolaneum the lava carbonized and thereby preserved wood beams and other organic-based materials such as roofs, beds, doors, and food. Because of the thick layer of lava the escavation of the acient city discover only the 25%, the rest is still buried underneath.
One of the most important building is the Villa dei Papiri, a library where 1,800 scrolls were found solidified into dark husks. Thank to the most modern and powerlful X-ray technology those rolls are being studied.
Even if it was much smaller than Pompei, Ercolano was a much wealthier town, with a larger amount of fine houses, marbles and frescos.
No body were found during the escavations until the 1997 when 300 skeleton were found nearby the seawall.