Archaeologists have discovered two extremely well-preserved bodies from the tragedy that struck the Italian city of Pompeii in antiquity. They were hit by the high temperatures of the lava expelled by a volcanic eruption, caused by the volcano Vesuvius, in 79 BC.
One of them was probably a wealthy, high society man, aged between 30 and 40, who still preserved traces of a woolen mantle around his neck.
The remaining one, who was probably between 18 and 23 years old, wore a tunic and had a significant number of broken vertebrae, indicating that he should be a slave, showing the marks due to the wear and tear of the heavy work he performed.
What was left of the bodies was found in Civita Giuliana, near the center of ancient Pompeii, in an underground chamber near the area where a large city was being excavated.
The bones and teeth of these two men were preserved and the spaces where the tissues should have been filled with plaster, placed there so that, after the excavation, it was possible to have an idea of the outline of the bodies.
“These two men were probably seeking shelter when they were washed away by the lava at about 9 am,” said Massimo Osanna, the site director and responsible for the excavations. “The death occurred due to the temperature, as demonstrated by the closed hands and feet of these men”, he says.
Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said the discovery was “incredible to research and study.”
Pompeii is 23 km southeast of Naples and was home to around 13,000 people when the Vesuvius volcano erupted and buried the city under lava and ash, in a way, forming a photograph of the past in the present.
The findings at Pompeii had not been discovered until the 16th century, and exploratory excavations began only around 1750.
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