Herculaneum was an ancient Roman town. It is famous for having been lost, along with Pompei, Stabie and Oplontis, in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius though Pompeii is the most famous. Vesuvius started erupting on August 24, AD 79, which buried them in superheated pyroclastic material that has solidified into volcanic tuff. It also became famous as the source of the first Roman skeletal and physical remains available for study that were located by science, for the Romans almost universally cremated their dead. Since the discovery of bones in 1981, some 300 skeletons have been found, most along the sea shore — the town itself having been effectively evacuated. Herculaneum was a smaller town with a wealthier population than Pompeii at the time of the destruction.