Archaeologists at Pompeii have uncovered the remains of an unfortunate man who was decapitated by an enormous rock while fleeing nearby Mount Vesuvius which erupted in 79 CE, killing many Pompeii residents and famously freezing them in place.
Stunning pictures from the scene show a skeleton pinned beneath the stone. The impact crushed the top of the man’s body. His head might still be buried beneath the block of stone.
“This discovery has shown the leaps in the archaeological field. The team on site are not just archaeologists but experts in many fields; engineers, restorers and (have) the technical tools like drones and 3D scanners.
Lesions on the skeleton’s tibia are signs of a bone infection that probably hampered the man’s escape attempt, archaeologists believe. Nonetheless, the man, who was at least 30 years old, survived the first phase of the eruption and fled along an alley, probably limping because of his infection.
But there he was hit by the massive stone block, perhaps a doorjamb, possibly hurled at him by the force of the pyroclastic flow, the blazing-hot mixture of gas, lava fragments and other debris thrown out by a volcano.
“Now we have the possibility to rebuild the space as it once was,” said Massimo Osanna, general director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. “This is the first time an excavation happens with all of these tools. In the 1800s and 1900s, they dug in the area where we found the skeleton, but they did not go as deep as we did. Because of the experts we had, we knew how to do it.”