What are the most recent finds in Pompeii?

Pompeii; the biggest continuous archaeological site in the entire world. Jam-packed with crumbling buildings and ancient artefacts dating back to the ancient Roman times. The once thriving city completely destroyed by Mount Vesuvius’ volcanic eruption, leaving a perfect snapshot of these times. The city is divided by continuous diggings and tourist sites, blending together old and new discoveries every day.

2018 seemed to be a big year for new discoveries within the ancient city of Pompeii. Excavations have been going on since 1728, but the city still has much to tell us. Many of the new discoveries in the past year have uncovered mysteries and helped to explain these past citizens. Here are just a few of the most noteworthy and influential that was found recently.

Life in Pompeii

Back before its tragic demise, the city of Pompeii was a prosperous city established in 7th century B.C. It was seen as a holiday spot for the rich Romans, as well as being a huge trading hub due to its location right on the coast. Due to its trading wealth, the city used its resources to become a fashionable and sophisticated region, with elaborate villas, stylish shops, and foreign wonders up for grabs. The beauty, fashion and adornments of Pompeii were all seen as impeccable, creating a completely glamorous profile. However, the reality of the poorer citizens was quite tragic, with slavery a common and legal process back in this time. Many foreign individuals were stolen from their homes and taken to Pompeii to trade, with the most common jobs for these salves being in brothels, shops, or households. Despite the vast difference in lifestyle for the Pompeii people, they all died the same way, with the eruption killing an estimated 20,000 in 79 A.D.

The 79 A.D. Eruption

Back in the day, the Pompeii people had no idea of their neighbour Mount Vesuvius’ danger. In fact, it wasn’t just mounted Vesuvius that was overlooked, but all volcanos in general, with no word for the danger, even invented back then. Instead, the citizens merely thought of it as a large mountain and had no other reason to think otherwise. If they had known this fact before the 79 A.D. disasters, they might have realised the series of earthquakes that shook the area were warning signs, but the citizen brushed this off, as they were used to the occasional tremor. It was not until the massive boom in which the volcano released tons of black smoke into the air did the people realise their danger. Many tried fleeing, which some finding a way out in time. But for most, the waves of toxic ‘pyroclastic flows’ led to their demise. These waves contained gas, ash and rock, being so hot that they instantly burned the victim alive. Folk ran for their lives, but the waves gathered up speeds of 700km per hour, which were no match for the running citizens of Pompeii. The city was soon covered in a thick layer of ash and dirt, which soon hardened, and hide the city from the rest of the world until rediscovery centuries later.

Pompeii Now

Due to the layer of dirt protecting the ruins from time, a large portion of the city still remains, with buildings, artefacts, and even skeletons found hidden away. Archaeologists are continuously digging the area for new discoveries. Helping them know more and more about these ancient beings with every new discovery.

The Horses

At the end of 2018, archaeologists discovered the remains of several horses. The horses were found in the stables of an extravagant estate, known as the Villa of Mysteries. Archaeologists believe the horses were owned by a high-ranking military officer. One horse that was found with its legs bent at the knee, making us assume it was preparing to gallop through the gates.

The Skeleton Child

Unearthed in one of the large central bath complexes was a skeleton of a child. The figure is estimated to be 7 to 8 years old. The child is said to of been trying in vain to escape the eruption by hiding in the baths. It was a surprise find, as the area had been evacuated in the 19th century, with only this discovery found due to new excavation technology.

The Erotic Fresco

A strange erotic fresco was unearthed in a suburban home in Pompeii; depicting a woman having sex with a swan. The illustration is inspired from a classical mythology tale of the Spartan Queen Leda, who was impregnated by the god Zeus. The married Leda was said to be a great beauty who captivated Zeus. He then disguised himself as a swan and seduced Leda (although some retellings say there was no consent.) Leda fell pregnant, and hatched two eggs, which produced four children. As she was with both her husband and Zeus, two of the children, Helen (known as Helen of troy) and Pollux were said to be Zeus’s children. Whereas Clytemnestra and Castor were her husbands, Tyndareus’s. Although this mythology was a common illustration in Pompeii, this fresco is said to be unique. What makes it stand out is due to three reasons. Leda is sitting in the image which is unusual as most past frescos portray her standing. It also illustrates the two mid-act, which was typically never portrayed with only the lead up or the aftermath shown. Lastly, Leda’s eye direction is quite rare, as looking straight at the viewer is very different from the side looks most frescos in Pompeii depicted.

The Unlucky Man

Archaeologist found one of the unluckiest victims during the tragic eruption in 79 B.C. The figure’s legs and torso was found sticking out from under a large stone block, with researchers assuming his upper half was crushed by the rock. After further study, however, revealed his head had fallen into a pit sometime later, revealing that he was not killed by the rock but the pyroclastic gas that killed the majority of Pompeii’s citizens.

The Street of Balconies

This area was a very significant discovery as second story building were still intact, which is very rare within the ancient city. Its nearby garden was also investigated, which gave researchers critical information on food and plants found in the city.

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