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The skeletal remains of a presumably rich man and his male slave who lived before the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius almost 2. 000 years ago were discovered in Pompeii, say officials at the archaeological park.
The partial skeletons were found during the excavation of an elegant villa on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city, dating back to 79 AD. Chr. was destroyed by the outbreak.
It’s the same area where a stable with the remains of three harnessed horses was excavated in 2017.
Pompeii officials said the two men appeared to have escaped the initial ash fall and then succumbed to a powerful volcanic explosion that occurred the following day.
Both skeletons were found in an adjoining room along an underground corridor or passageway known in Roman times as the cryptoporticus, which led to the upper level of the villa.
« The victims probably sought refuge in the cryptoporticus, in this underground space where they believed they were better protected, » said Massimo Osanna, director of the Pompeii archaeological site:
The remains were found in Civita Giuliana, 700 meters northwest of the center of ancient Pompeii, lying on their backs side by side in a layer of gray ash at least 2 meters deep.
Casts were made from the entire skeleton using the impressions of the shape of the victims from the hardened ashes.
One of the victims was an adolescent, probably between the ages of 18 and 25, with a spinal column with compressed discs as measured by skull bones and teeth.
This finding led archaeologists to hypothesize that the young man was doing manual labor like that of a slave.
The other victim found nearby had sturdy bone structure, particularly in his chest area, and was likely around 30 to 40 years old, Pompeii officials said.
Both skeletons were found in a corridor that led to a staircase leading to the upper level of the villa.
Due to the impression of fabric folds in the layer of ash, the younger man appeared to be wearing a short, pleated tunic, possibly made of wool.
The older victim appeared not only to be wearing a tunic, but also to have a cloak over her left shoulder.
« The details of the pose reveal not only the faces, not just the limbs, but also the clothing, which with an extraordinary curtain makes (the victims) look like statues. «
Dario Franceschini, Italy’s minister of culture, said more than 20 hectares remain to be excavated in the area.
« This extraordinary discovery shows that Pompeii is important not only because of the large number of visitors and tourists in the world, but also because it is an incredible place for research, study and education, » he said.
While excavations continue near Naples, tourists are currently banned from the archaeological park as part of national anti-COVID-19 measures.
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Pompeii, eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Chr.
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