Skeletal remains shed light on the last moments of the victims of Vesuvius – .

Skeletal remains shed light on the last moments of the victims of Vesuvius – .

Archaeologists on Wednesday released haunting images of the skeletal remains of a man who was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago.

The man, discovered in October and believed to be between 40 and 45, was wiped out just steps from the sea in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum, near Pompeii, as he tried to flee the cataclysmic eruption.

His remains were discovered on what would have been the town beach with his head pointed towards the sea.

The skeleton was surrounded by charred wood, including a roof beam that could have crushed his skull. Preliminary work has found traces of fabric and what appears to be a bag, NBC News reported.

The bones of the tragic man were bright red, which Francesco Sirano, director of the Archaeological Park of Herculaneum, told Italian news agency ANSA was “the mark of the stains left by the victim’s blood,” said reported the Guardian.

The skeletal remains of a man who died in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius 2,000 years ago were found in October.
LightRocket via Getty Images

“The last moments here were instantaneous, but terrible,” Sirano said. “It was 1 am when the pyroclastic surge produced by the volcano reached the city for the first time with a temperature of 300 to 400 degrees, or even, according to some studies, of 500 to 700 degrees.

“A white-hot cloud which ran towards the sea at a speed of 100 km [60 miles] per hour, which was so dense that there was no oxygen in it, ”he added.

Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, former director of the University of Cambridge’s Herculaneum Project, told NBC News that the discovery “has helped immensely in understanding both the last moments of the site, but also the 100 years that have preceded ”.

Archaeologists say the skeleton was red because it was stained with human blood.
LightRocket via Getty Images

“The power of nature is absolutely awesome and being under a volcanic eruption is just unbelievably violent,” he told the network. “The site sits there peacefully in the sun and it looks so idyllic, and you have to explain to people that this was by the most violent eruption. “

The expert said the man’s feet were cut off in a previous search.

“Initially, they found a few leg bones protruding from the edge of the escarpment. And indeed, the excavation across the escarpment had cut off that skeleton’s feet – kind of like finding a Mafia murder, ”Wallace-Hadrill joked.

The skeleton was discovered in Herculaneum with its head turned towards the sea.
LightRocket via Getty Images
300 bodies were found in the area of ​​the harbor arches near the old beach on December 1, 2021 in Ercolano, Italy.
300 bodies were found in the area of ​​the harbor arches near the old beach on December 1, 2021 in Ercolano, Italy.
Ivan Romano/Getty Images

In October, the Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini declared: “The sensational discovery of the remains of a fugitive at the archaeological site of Herculaneum is excellent news, first of all because the find is due to the resumption in this place, after nearly 30 years, of scientific excavations carried out by the technical staff of the ministry.

Herculaneum was buried under around 15 meters of ash until it was rediscovered during a well digging in the early 18th century, according to the Guardian. Earlier excavations in the 1980s and 1990s unearthed more than 300 skeletons at the site.

Skeletal remains.
These remains give archaeologists a glimpse of the last moments of Herculaneum but also of its previous history.
Getty Images

Scientists said earlier this year that a skeleton likely belonged to a Roman soldier sent on a doomed rescue mission to Pompeii and Herculaneum.

“You feel that you are in immediate contact with ancient life, not the hazy contact you get from typical archaeological sites. Because the destruction process takes 24 hours, you have this extraordinary immediacy, ”Wallace-Hadrill told NBC News.

Herculaneum was buried under 50 feet of volcanic ash and was rediscovered in the 18th century.
Getty Images

He added that many victims could have survived if they had left the area.

“The sages, we realize in retrospect, just walked away from the rash when it started,” Wallace-Hadrill said. “If they had all known that, they could all have escaped, they just had to get away… But hundreds and thousands of people didn’t.


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