Pompeii excavation unearths well-preserved bodies of two men
Vesuvius erupted almost 2,000 years ago and destroyed the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. However, archaeologists are still finding new artifacts from the tragic event. Their latest discovery involves two bodies that appear to belong to a wealthy individual and his slave.
Officials at the archaeological park in Italy said Saturday archaeologists discovered the skeletal remains of two men who tried to escape the eruption. Researchers found bits of the skulls and bones when they excavated the ruins of a once large villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on the outskirts of Pompeii.
The bones were found in Civita Giuliana, the same area where archaeologists who unearthed a stable in 2017 unearthed the remains of three harnessed horses.
The two men died during what is known as the second pyroclastic flow that occurred after the first eruption. / Credit: Pompeii Page
The first victim was determined to be a young man between the ages of 18 and 25 who was just over 5 feet tall. Unusual vertebral body compressions suggested that he was engaged in hard manual labor, leading researchers to believe he was a slave.
He wore a short tunic made of wool.
The second victim was found head down, arms crossed with hands on chest, legs spread, and knees bent. The posture is similar to that of other Pompeii casts.
Researchers believe the man was older than the other victim, between 30 and 40 years old and about 5 feet 3 inches tall. He wore much more complicated clothes.
After the archaeologists carefully removed the bones, officials made casts of the two victims found in a hallway in the "noble" part of the villa, in a layer of ash at least 6.5 feet deep.
After the bones were removed, officers made casts of the two victims. / Credit: Pompeii Page
The technique was first developed in the 19th century to keep victims in the positions in which they died.
According to official sources, both men died suddenly "during the so-called second pyroclastic flow" that occurred after the first eruption, but was still extremely violent. This second stream killed survivors who attempted to flee their homes during the estimated 30 minutes of calm following the initial destruction.
"However, the current that was noticed was very fast and very violent. It collapsed the first floors of houses and surprised victims as they tried to flee over several inches of ash, resulting in their deaths," officials said. "In this case, it is likely that the pyroclastic flow flooded the room through several openings and built them into the ashes."
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