Saturday 21 November 2020 11:11
"Amazing" discovery in Pompeii
Archaeologists have made "a truly exceptional discovery” in a villa in Pompeii. The bodies of two men, a man in his forties wrapped in a woollen cloak and a young slave, have been found almost perfectly intact. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini called the discovery "amazing" and underlined its importance for Italy’s cultural […]
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Casts of the two men found in the Civita Giuliana excavations in Pompeii
Archaeologists have made "a truly exceptional discovery” in a villa in Pompeii. The bodies of two men, a man in his forties wrapped in a woollen cloak and a young slave, have been found almost perfectly intact. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini called the discovery "amazing" and underlined its importance for Italy’s cultural heritage as a whole.
The discovery was made in the exceptionally well-preserved Augustan-era villa in Civita Giuliana, just north of the walls of the ancient city that archaeologists have been excavating in recent years. Sumptuously frescoed and with sloping terraces overlooking the Gulf of Naples and Capri, it was here that in 2017 archaeologists found the remains of three horses, one harnessed with a fine wooden and bronze saddle and glittering harnesses, as if ready for the departure of its master, a general or high-ranking military magistrate, possibly a member of the noble Mummii family.
A fresco from the Civita Giuliana villa
Interviewed by news agency
ANSA, Pompeii director Massimo Osanna explained that excavations have been proceeding throughout the pandemic. He was particularly excited because for the first time in the 150 years of the use of plaster casts of the victims, new technologies now also allow the team to investigate and document the objects they were carrying when they were hit and killed by the eruption. In the coming months, we may even know where these two men were heading and identify the roles they played in the large and sumptuous residence.
Excavations here date back to 1907-1908 by the then owner of the land, Marquis Giovanni Imperiali. He unearthed 15 rooms but later had them reburied without leaving detailed documentation as to their location.
"We were lucky," Massimo Osanna told ANSA, "because the compartment in which we found the bodies had escaped both the excavations of the early twentieth century and the looting of grave robbers. In fact, a trench built by grave robbers passed near the foot of one of the two victims.”
Initial studies may even have identified the moment when the men met their fate on the second day of the eruption, the morning of October 25 (according to recent estimates) in that fateful year of 79 AD.