A charcoal inscription supports the theory that the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in AD 79 occurred in October and not in August of 79 AD.
It is one of the latest discoveries that came to light in the excavations of the Regio V of Pompeii and has been hailed by experts as an extraordinary find.
Archeologists have revealed that the inscription etched on a wall of a house that was being restored just before the eruption reads: “the 16th day before the calends of November”, meaning 17 October.
“In particular, a charcoal inscription – a tangible trace of everyday life – supports the theory that the date of the eruption was October and not in August. Indeed, the writing is dated to the sixteenth day before the Calends of November, corresponding to the 17th October. The inscription appears in a room of the house which was undergoing refurbishment, while the rest of the rooms had already been completed; works must, therefore, have been ongoing at the time of the eruption,” wrote archaeologist detailing the history-changing discovery.
Experts have previously thought that the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum occurred 24 August, based on contemporary writings and archeological finds.
However, the new discovery changes everything, effectively helping us to rewrite history.
Nevertheless, evidence such as autumnal fruits on branches found in the ashen ruins had suggested a later date since the 19th century, Osanna said.
“Today, with much humility, perhaps we will rewrite the history books because we date the eruption to the second half of October,” said Italy’s culture minister, Alberto Bonisoli.
So far, historians have determined the date of the eruption based on ancient writings that contain first-hand testimonies.
These accounts come from Pliny the Younger, a renowned lawyer, and writer from Ancient Rome, who witnessed the destruction of Pompeii and wrote about it in two letters to his friend, senator, and historian of the Roman Empire Tacitus.