Two male bodies - master and slave - unearthed in ruins of Pompeii

Clay Curtis
November 24, 2020

The two skeletons were found in Civita Giuliana, around 700 metres northwest of ancient Pompeii, in an underground chamber in the area of a large villa being excavated by archaeologists.

The remains of the two victims, lying on their backs very close to each other, appeared in a layer of gray ash at least two meters deep.

The casts of what are believed to have been a rich man and his male slave fleeing the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago.

As has become common practice on the historic Pompeii site, archaeologists poured liquid chalk into the cavities left by the decaying bodies in the ash and pumice, resulting in "statues" being formed showing the two men in their final "death throes".

Both skeletons were found in a corridor, which led to a staircase to the upper level of the villa.

"This dig is very important, also due to touching discoveries of great emotional impact", said Pompeii Archaeological Park General Director Massimo Osanna.

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a rich man and his slave after they were killed during the Vesuvius eruption. Studies revealed that the victims were a man aged 18-25 and approximately 156cm tall, and an older man, probably 30-40 years of age and approximately 162cm tall, according to the statement.

The other man had a robust bone structure, especially in his chest area, and died with his hands on his chest and his legs bent and spread apart.

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Their bodies are around 2000 years old.

The officials stated that fragments of white paint were found near the middle-aged man's face that was possibly the remnants of a collapsed upper wall. Impressions of fabric folds in the ash layer suggest he was wearing a short, pleated tunic.

"The victims were probably looking for shelter in the cryptoporticus, in this underground space, where they thought they were better protected", said Osanna.

The thrashed city of Pompeii was covered completely in residue from the volcanic eruption in 79 AD. He seemed to have a shield on his left shoulder in addition to a tonic.

"Just as in the first excavation campaign when it was possible to create plaster casts of the horses, today it has been possible to make casts of the two victims who were found near the cryptoporticus, in the noble part of the villa which the latest investigations have focused on".

At the end of October in 79 AD, Vesuvius erupted.

Excavation work is continuing at the archaeological site, located near Naples, but it remains closed to tourists because of coronavirus measures.

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