Pompeii archaeologists discover bodies of man and his slave | News | DW | 21.11.2020
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Pompeii archaeologists discover bodies of man and his slave

The skeletal remains were found in the underground chamber of a villa on the outskirts of the ancient city. The men escaped the first volcanic eruption that destroyed the city, but succumbed to a blast the next day.

Archaeologists have discovered skeletal remains of two men scalded to death by the volcanic eruption that destroyed the ancient Roman city of Pompeii nearly 2,000 years ago, the Italian culture ministry said on Saturday.

The partial skeletons are believed to be those of a man with high status and his slave. The first was likely aged between 30 and 40, and still bore traces of a woollen cloak under his neck.

Read morePetrified horse remains found near Pompeii 

The other, aged 18 to 25, was dressed in a tunic and had a number of crushed vertebrae and a spinal column with compressed discs, indicating that he had been a slave who did heavy labor.

The remains were found in the underground chamber of a large villa – Civita Giuliana – on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city, which was destroyed in 79 AD.

Read moreMount Vesuvius eruption melted victim's brain to glass 

The men's teeth and bones were preserved, and the voids left by their soft tissues were filled with plaster that was left to harden and then excavated to show the outline of their bodies.

Pompeii officials said the two men apparently escaped the initial fall of ash, then succumbed to a powerful volcanic blast that took place the following day.

Read morePetrified horse remains found near Pompeii 

"These two victims were perhaps seeking refuge when they were swept away by the pyroclastic current at about 9 in the morning," said Massimo Osanna, director of the archeological site. "It is a death by thermal shock, as also demonstrated by their clenched feet and hands."

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said the discovery highlighted Pompeii's status as "an incredible place for research and study."

Read more:Street of balconies discovered in Italy's Pompeii 

Pompeii, 23 kilometers (14 miles) southeast of Naples, was home to about 13,000 people when the Mount Vesuvius eruption buried it under ash, pumice pebbles and dust, preserving many of the city's ruins and remains.

While excavations continue at the site, tourists are currently barred from visiting the archaeological park due to preventive measures over COVID-19.

lc/aw (AP, Reuters)

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