Pompeii Discovery: Archaeologists Find Gold Coins, Human Remains in Ancient Roman Shop

Italian and French archaeologists excavating a site at Porta Ercolano, just on the fringes of the popular ancient Roman city of Pompeii, have made a discovery of the remains of four people along with some gold artifacts.

According to the Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii, the discovery was made in a shop near the necropolis at Porta Ercolano, where some of the most distinguished citizens of Pompeii were laid to rest. Pompeii was destroyed in 79 A.D. after the volcanic Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city in ashes, causing many to flee.

Archaeologists believe that the people, whose remains were found in the Pompeii shop, had gathered there to seek shelter after the volcano erupted. The remains are thought to have belonged to young people. One of them is said to have been an adolescent female, according to AP.

Bones found in the Pompeii discovery.
Although Porta Ercolano is along a road that connected Pompeii and Herculaneum, the remains found are thought to belong to people from Pompeii, Forbes reported.

Three gold coins and a gold-leaf pendant were reportedly found among the remains in the Pompeii shop. The gold coins have been dated to between 74 and 78 A.D. The archaeologists revealed that the ancient Pompeii shop may have been looted in the past. However, it appears that the robbers, who moved the human remains in the shop, failed to spot the gold artifacts near them.

The archaeologists also announced the discovery of the tomb of an adult, presumably a male, inside the ancient Pompeii shop. The pre-Pompeii tomb is reportedly made of limestone slabs. The man is thought to have been buried in the 4th century, AP reported. About six black vases were reportedly arranged near the body, which was found lying on its back.

It is unclear what the ancient Pompeii shop was used for. However, given that it had stairs and a large furnace, it has been speculated that the shop was used to create bronze items, Forbes reported. A quarry was also found in the shop.

The discovery of the ancient Pompeii shop is expected to shed light on pre-Roman burial traditions as well as how people attempted to protect themselves after Mt. Vesuvius erupted. Archaeologists started digging the site in May as part of a project to study the commercial areas outside the walls of Pompeii.

In recent years, archaeologists have conducted several excavation projects that have shed light on the life of the people of Pompeii and ancient Rome.

Ancient ruins in Pompeii, Italy.
In 2014, after excavating the drains of up to 20 shops near a popular gate in Pompeii called Portia Stabia, archaeologists revealed that contrary to popular belief, poor people in the Ancient Roman city ate healthy foods, according to Live Science. In the drains of these Pompeii shops, archaeologists found remains of meat, fish, vegetables, and nuts. Meanwhile, in the drain of a high-end Pompeii property, the archaeologists found the remains of exotic food items like sea urchins, shellfish, and even a giraffe.

Scientists have revealed that many people in Pompeii enjoyed good health. The discovery was made last year after an interdisciplinary team of scientists performed CAT scans on several remains from Pompeii, The Local reported.

“They have really good teeth – they ate a diet that contained few sugars, and was high in fruit and vegetables,” Elisa Vanacore, an orthodontist, who partook in the study, said.

Thousands of people in Pompeii are believed to have lost their lives in the aftermath of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. CAT scans have revealed that some of the victims died from head injuries, believed to have been caused by collapsing buildings due to seismic activity during the volcanic eruption, according to Smithsonian.

[Photo by Pompeii Archeological Site Press Office/AP Photos]