Mount Vesuvius violently erupted on August 24, 79 AD. A plumb of smoke soared nine to 12 miles high before falling to earth and eventually burying the city under 20 feet of ash and pumice. A large share of the 20,000 residents fled during the early stages. But then a heat blast called a pyroclastic surge slammed into the city. It exceeded 500° Fahrenheit and traveled 70 miles per hour. This is when most of the 1,600 to 2,000 people were killed. So far, 1,150 bodies have been found. For years, as the skeletons were uncovered during excavation, plaster was used to create casts of their final seconds in death. One of the most famous is this crouching mule driver. Archeologists call him the “muleteer.” He and other artifacts are on display in the Granary Market along the Forum.