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Incredibly preserved bodies of two men discovered in Pompeii

Published: 24th December, 2020 at 20:00
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A master and his slave discovered almost 2000 years after their deaths

In AD 79, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius sent a fast-moving cloud of boiling vapours down the mountainside and through the city of Pompeii. Thousands were killed instantly, and the event has become one of the most famous eruptions in history.

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Now, nearly two thousand years later, two incredibly intact bodies of who are believed to be a master and his servant have been discovered in a villa just outside the ancient Roman city.

The younger man is thought to have been between the age of 18 and 25, while his master is thought to be between the age of 30 and 40.

Archaeologists judged that the younger man was probably a manual labourer due to evidence suggesting that his spinal column had two compressed discs, suggesting a short but hard life of heavy lifting.

Using new techniques, archaeologists working at the Pompeii archaeological park plan to carry out further excavations in the area over the coming years.

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With the death toll unknown, there could be many more remains awaiting discovery in this area. This latest project is just one of the many excavations that have taken place since the discovery of the ruins in the 16th Century.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock (11027342a) Los moldes de yeso de lo que se cree eran un hombre rico y su esclavo que huían de la erupción del volcán Vesuvio hace casi 2.000 años se ven en lo que era una finca elegante en las afueras de la antigua ciudad romana de Pompeya, destruida por la erupción de 79 d.C. Excavaciones recientes los sacaron a la luz, dijeron autoridades del parque arqueológico el sábado 21 de noviembre de 2020 ITALIA-POMPEYA CADAVERES ANTIGUOS, Pompeii, Italy - 19 Nov 2020
The almost-intact bodies of two men, a forty-year-old and his young slave. Pompeii, Italy 19 Nov 2020 Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Detail of the casts of one of two bodies that are believed to have been a rich man and his male slave fleeing the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago, are seen in what was an elegant villa on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii destroyed by the eruption in 79 A.D., where they were discovered during recents excavations.
Detail of the casts of one of two bodies that are believed to have been a rich man and his male slave fleeing the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago, are seen in what was an elegant villa on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii destroyed by the eruption in 79 A.D., where they were discovered during recents excavations. Pompeii, Italy 19 Nov 2020 AP/Shutterstock
The remains of the two victims, lying next to each other on their backs, were found in a layer of grey ash at least 2m deep Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Detail of the hand of one of the victims of the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. The older man is thought to have been wearing a wooden tunic. Pompeii, Italy - 21 Nov 2020 Photo by Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
NAPLES, ITALY - MAY 26: General view of the deserted Forum on the day of the reopening of the Pompeii Archaeological Park on May 26, 2020 in Pompeii, Italy. Many Italian businesses have been allowed to reopen, after more than two months of a nationwide lockdown meant to curb the spread of Covid-19. (Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images)
General view of the Forum in Pompeii Archaeological Park on May 26, 2020, Naples, Italy Getty Images

Authors

James CutmorePicture Editor, BBC Science Focus

James Cutmore is the picture editor of BBC Science Focus Magazine, researching striking images for the magazine and on the website. He is also has a passion for taking his own photographs

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