What are the most recent finds in Pompeii?

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 were found recently.

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.