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Look What Just Turned Up in Pompeii

'The victims were probably looking for shelter'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 21, 2020 11:20 AM CST

(Newser) – Skeletal remains of what are believed to have been a rich man and his male slave attempting to escape death from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago have been discovered in Pompeii, officials at the archaeological park in Italy said Saturday. Parts of the skulls and bones of the two men were found during excavation of the ruins from what was once an elegant villa with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city destroyed by the volcano eruption in 79AD, per the AP. It's the same area where a stable with the remains of three horses were excavated in 2017. Pompeii officials said the men apparently escaped the initial fall of ash from Mount Vesuvius then succumbed to a powerful volcanic blast that took place the next morning.

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The remains of the two victims, lying next to each other on their backs, were found in a layer of gray ash at least 6.5 feet deep, they said. Judging by cranial bones and teeth, one of the men was young, likely aged 18 to 25, with a spinal column with compressed discs. That finding led archaeologists to hypothesize that he was a young man who did manual labor, like that of a slave. The other man had a robust bone structure, especially in his chest area, and died with his hands on his chest and his legs bent and spread apart. He was estimated to have been 30- to 40-years-old, Pompeii officials said. "The victims were probably looking for shelter in the cryptoporticus, in this underground space, where they thought they were better protected," said archaeologist Massimo Osanna.

(Read more Pompeii stories.)

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