Not far from legendary Pompeii is the less-heralded and underappreciated city of Herculaneum. Though it is often neglected in the history books, Herculaneum was also buried and frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79.
In their groundbreaking new series, “Secrets of the Dead,” PBS brings to life the ancient city of Herculaneum. Unlike Pompeii, Herculeaneum was not devastated and suffocated by falling ash, instead it was engulfed by scorching pyroclastic flows a day after Vesuvius was destroyed that instantly caused muscles to contract, skin to vaporize and heads to explode.
Though incredibly devastating, these fast-moving flows of hot gas, ash and rock have preserved precious artifacts that paint a stunning new picture of what life was like before the eruption, and how people reacted as they watched the volcano explode. The Secrets of the Dead series interviews geo-archaeologists, volcanologists and a host of other scientists as they chip away at the soft rock, revealing clues about the city. A combination of volcanology, Roman history, and archeology, the Secrets of the Dead series is one of the most fascinating, entertaining and intriguing documentaries I’ve seen in months. Highly recommended. 10 out of 10.
Check your local PBS listings for show times.