Archaeologists in Pompeii have made an impressive – if sad and kind of terrifying – new discovery in the ancient Roman city: the skeleton of a man who was crushed by a giant boulder as he was fleeing the eruption.
As Newsweek reports, Italian archaeologists have been exploring parts of the ancient city that haven’t been explored, and currently they’re working on Regio V. It was there, at a street corner, that they found the skeleton of a man, believed to be in his 30s, who died in a rather unfortunate, if not unexpected, manner.
According to a Facebook post from Pompeii Parco Archeologico (and please forgive the rather unwieldy Italian translation), the man suffered a brutal death, though likely a quick one.
“A formidable stone block (perhaps a door jamb), violently thrown by the volcanic cloud, collided with his upper body, crushing the highest part of the thorax.”
As of this writing, the man’s head remains buried under the stone, and it is unclear when, or if, it will be removed.
As it turns out, the man’s fate may have been sealed even as Mount Vesuvius started erupting way back in 79 CE. Lesions on his leg bones possibly indicate that he had some sort of leg infection that limited his mobility.
#Pompeii The thorax was crushed by a block of stone, the body hurled back by the force of the pyroclastic flow, in a desperate attempt to flee the fury of the eruption. The first victim which emerges in the site of the new excavations of Regio V, does so in this dramatic position pic.twitter.com/qHZCS0W0Zd— Pompeii Sites (@pompeii_sites) May 29, 2018
That’s borne out by the position of his body and the elevation at which it was found. His body was found level with what would have been the second story of a nearby building, suggesting perhaps that he survived the first day of the two-day eruption and tried to make his escape by fleeing along the top of the layer of ash that blanketed the city. Slowed by his sickly legs, he had no chance. say archaeologists.
Though destroyed by a volcano 2,000 years ago, and then rediscovered by archaeologists about 300-400 years ago, Pompeii continues to reveal secrets hidden for 200 millennia. As reported by the Inquisitr, just two weeks ago researchers discovered a previously-hidden “alley of balconies,” unearthing the grand homes of the city’s well-to-do. Similarly, also last week unearthed were the remains of an ancient Roman military horse.
Pompeii was destroyed in 79 CE, probably in late summer, when Mount Vesuvius erupted, completely covering the city as well as nearby Herculaneum, in ash. Although the remains of about 1,500 people have been discovered in and around the two ruins, the total death toll from the eruption remains unknown.
By the way, Mount Vesuvius is still considered an active volcano, having last erupted in 1906. Some three million people live around the slopes of the volcano.