Excavation began at modern Ercolano in 18° century: but they ceased when  the nearby town of Pompeii was discovered, which was easier to excavate. In 1927 the Italian government resumed the digging out of Herculaneum, and now large parts of the city are open to view.


Herculaneum lay completely buried under more than 60 feet (18 meters) of mud and volcanic material.
The deep covering which had hardened to rock, made digging difficult.
The art treasures unearthed at Herculaneum, statues in marble and bronze and paintings are far more extensive than those from Pompeii. At Pompeii the covering of volcanic material was much lighter than that at Herculaneum. Therefore the owners of houses were able to return and dig out many of their most valuable possessions. In some cases even the marble facing of buildings was removed. Herculaneum, however, was so deeply covered that no attempt seems to have been made in ancient times to recover anything of value.
At Herculaneum the roofs have not fallen like at Pompei and therefore the houses are looked completely.
The dwellings show a blank wall to the street, as many in Southern Europe still do. The occupants got their air and sunlight from a central court or a back garden. Opening off the great room, or atrium, are bedrooms (cubicula) hardly more than cupboards storeroom, dining room, ( triclinium)   and kitchen.
In the kitchen is a raised hearth, and on top of this burned a charcoal fire for cooking. In houses in which there was a bath, this hearth provided heat for that as well.
Bedrooms off the atrium are tiny cubicles, often furnished with no more than a low wooden bed
A water system brought water for the bath and sometimes for a fountain in the atrium.
At Herculaneum some furniture is still complete though reduced almost to charcoal. Wall paintings and mosaic floors decorated the homes of the wealthy
The most remarkable discovery at Herculaneum is 1,800 rolls of papyrus manuscript. They were badly charred, but hundreds have been unrolled and deciphered.


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