Pompeii dig uncovers bodies of two men killed in volcanic eruption in AD 79

A Pompeii dig has uncovered the bodies of two men killed in a volcanic eruption that obliterated the Roman city nearly 2,000 years ago.

Pompeii Archaeological Park believes one of the bodies found during an excavation of a large villa on the outskirt of the city belonged to a man of high status and the other his slave.

The wealthy man was aged between 30 and 40 and the younger man around 20.

Archaeologists said crushed vertebrae suggested he was a slave who did manual work.

It’s thought the two men may have been seeking refuge when Pompeii was engulfed by a volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

In a statement, the archaeological park said: “It has been possible to make casts of the two victims (using impressions the victims’ bodies had made in the hardened ash) who were found near the cryptoporticus, in the noble part of the villa which the latest investigations have focused on.”

Describing the find as “an incredible and extraordinary testimony” to what happened on the morning of the operation, park director, Massimo Osanna, told reporters: “It is a death by thermal shock, as also demonstrated by their clenched feet and hands”.

The site near Naples is closed to the public due to coronavirus measures, but excavation work continues.


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Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
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