The remains of two victims of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius almost 2000 years ago have been unearthed at a grand villa on the fringes of Pompeii, according to officials at the archaeological site.
“Two skeletons of individuals caught in the fury of the eruption have been found,” the officials at the Italian site near Naples said in a statement on Saturday.
The researchers believe the figures are those of a young slave and a richer older man, aged around 40 and presumed to be his owner, based on the vestiges of clothing and their physical appearance.
The ruined city of Pompeii was submerged in ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
It is now Italy’s second most visited tourist attraction after Rome’s Colosseum, receiving nearly four million visits last year.
The massive site that spreads over 44 hectares (110 acres) is what remains of one of the richest cities in the Roman empire.
Layers of ash buried many buildings and objects in a nearly pristine state, including curled-up corpses of victims.
After the latest human remains were uncovered, the bones were analysed and then plaster was poured in, a technique invented by Giuseppe Fiorelli in 1867.
This creates a plaster cast which shows the shapes of the bodies of the two victims, in a supine position, where they fell.
The two skeletons were found during ongoing excavations at Civita Giuliana, around 700 metres northwest of Pompeii, at a villa overlooking the Bay of Naples where previously a stable and the remains of three harnessed horses had been found.
During excavations at Civita Giuliana, around 700 metres northwest of Pompeii, in the area of the suburban villa where in 2017 the servile part had been discovered along with the stable containing the remains of three harnessed horses, 2 skeletons of individuals have been found pic.twitter.com/KCuie70BI5
— Pompeii Sites (@pompeii_sites) November 21, 2020
The two bodies were found in a side room of the “cryptoporticus” – a corridor below the villa where the could have gone to seek shelter.
While excavations continue at the Pompeii site, tourism has stopped due to coronavirus measures.
Originally published as Victims of ancient eruption unearthed