Archaeologists Just Found The ‘Crushed’ Pompeii Man’s Skull. It’s Not What We Expected

Archaeologists Just Found The 'Crushed' Pompeii Man's Skull. It's Not What We Expected

Archaeologists Just Found The ‘Crushed’ Pompeii Man’s Skull. It’s Not What We Expected

In Pompeii, the skull of a disabled man who died 2000 years ago during the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. It was suspected that the 35-year-old man was beheaded by a falling rock as he tried to avoid the eruption earlier this year when his headless body was discovered.

The identified skeletal remains consist of the upper part of the thorax, the upper limbs, the skull and jaw.

Archaeologists have found his nearby skull with a wide-open mouth and claim that it wasn’t ripped off his body until relatively recently. ‘We now understand that death was not due to the impact of the block, but presumably from probable asphyxiation due to the pyroclastic flow,’ wrote the Pompeii Archaeological Park.

The finding was announced by Director Massimo Osanna. ‘According to an archaeological forum, we have just found the skull, too, with the mouth wide open in an unusual way.’

‘He did not die of heat shock or because of the rock that fell on him, but from suffocation,’ Osanna told the forum. 

The 35-year-old man was seemingly beheaded by a falling rock as he tried to escape the eruption, which is believed to have killed around 30,000 people

‘In the early phase of the excavation it appeared that the upper part of the thorax and the skull, which had not yet been found, had been severed and dragged downwards by a stone block which had struck the victim: this preliminary hypothesis arose from the observation of the position of the boulder compared to the empty space of the body impressed into the cinerite,’ the team wrote.

In fact, they say, part of the surrounding buildings ‘slipped’ as a tunnel collapsed,  ‘His death was presumably not, therefore, due to the impact of the stone block, as initially assumed, but likely to asphyxia caused by the pyroclastic flow’ they say.

An earlier analysis of his right foot suggested he was disabled due to an injury that left him unable to escape when the volcano blew in 79 AD, burying the city in rock and ash. 

The skeleton was discovered at a recently uncovered area of the Pompeii archaeological site, near Naples, Italy.

The doomed city’s Regio V area was found as part of new excavation work and scientists are exploring the region to find out more about life in ancient Pompeii.

Discovered lying on his back, at first it appeared the man’s skeleton was pinned down by the rock that killed him almost 2,000 years ago. The director general of the Pompeii archaeological site, Massimo Osanna, called the discovery ‘dramatic and exceptional’.

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried the cities of Pompeii, Oplontis, and Stabiae under ashes and rock fragments, and the city of Herculaneum under a mudflow.

Of the 1,150 bodies recovered by archaeologists at Pompeii, 394 were killed by falling pumice and debris from collapsed buildings.

The remaining 756 victims were killed by a column of superheated gas and ash called a pyroclastic surge.

The skeleton of a child who tragically perished in the eruption was uncovered in the ruins of a public baths in Pompeii in February.

Workers restoring the ancient thermal recreational area discovered the body, believed to belong to a child aged seven or eight at the time. 

The crouching child is thought to have been trying to take shelter from the ensuing cataclysm when they were overwhelmed by deadly volcanic gases, experts said.

Pompeii’s director Massimo Osanna said in a statement that the skeleton was found during work to shore up the main ancient baths in the sprawling archaeological site. The skeleton was removed from the baths’ area for study, including DNA testing to determine its sex.

Professor Osanna said the skeleton might have been first spotted during a 19th-century excavation of the area, since the leg bones were orderly placed near the pelvis, but – for reasons unknown – wasn’t removed by those earlier archaeologists.

Speaking to La Repubblica newspaper, he said:  ‘This is an extraordinary find, in an area which we thought had been fully excavated in the 19th century. ‘What we can say from an early analysis is that the child was between seven and eight years old.’  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *