Like Pompeii, the coastal town of Herculaneum was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. The town was covered by mud slides following the eruption and is somewhat better preserved than Pompeii. It was thought that the citizens of Herculaneum had managed to escape in time before being overcome by the boiling, noxious gases (pyroclastic flow), but excavations of the marina arches in recent years has revealed hundreds of skeletons – men, women, children, freeborn and slaves – huddled together in a futile attempt to shelter from the volcanic flow.