Graffiti in Pompeii set to rewrite history books

Eruption of Mount Vesuvius may have occurred months after initially thought

Newly-discovered graffiti casts doubt on exact date of Mount Vesuvius eruption
(Image credit: MARIO LAPORTA/AFP/Getty Images)

Archaeologists working in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii have uncovered graffiti that has thrown into question the long-held belief that the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius occurred on 24 August, 79 AD.

Recent excavations of a room in the Regio V area of the city have revealed a charcoal inscription reading “XVI K Nov” – meaning “the 16th day before the calends of November, or October 17 in the modern calendar”, CNN says.

“It is highly probable that it can be dated to the October of 79 AD, and more precisely to a week prior to the great catastrophe,” the archaeology team said in a statement.

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Writing for Forbes, bioarchaeologist Kristina Killgrove says the graffiti translates from Latin to read “On October 17, he over-indulged in food” – and was written in charcoal in a section of a home that was in the process of being renovated when Mount Vesuvius erupted.

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