Pompeii: moving discovery of two victims of the eruption of 79

Steph Deschamps / November 22, 2020


The remains of two victims of the 79 AD eruption in Pompeii have been discovered and their bodies could be reconstructed in the moving position they had at the time of their death.


The two skeletons were discovered during research about 700 meters northwest of Pompeii, in a large villa on the outskirts of the famous Roman city.


They were in a 2.20 meter wide hallway that gave access to the upper floor of the villa, where archaeologists had detected cavities in the layers of hardened ash. By running plaster in these crevices, using the famous technique invented by Giuseppe Fiorelli in 1867, they were able to reconstruct the bodies in their original position.


Both victims were likely surprised by the eruption as they tried to flee. The first, a young man of 1.56 m wearing a short tunic who must have been between 18 and 25 years old, was probably a slave, as several vertebrae hunched up due to hard physical labor suggest. His head tilted back shows his teeth and his skull.


The second victim, on the other hand, has his face turned towards the earth, at a lower level than the rest of the body. His arms are folded with the hands on the torso, a position similar to those of other victims found in Pompeii. He is a 1.62 m man, aged 30 to 40, dressed in a tunic and a coat and probably the owner of the young slave found by his side.

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