sensational find at Herculaneum

“Sensational” new find at Herculaneum

By Region Culture News Southern Italy

A “sensational” new find at Herculaneum is how Culture Minister Dario Franceschini described the partially mutilated skeleton of a 40-45-year-old man. Only a step from the sea and salvation, the discovery may shed new light on the last moments of life in the town in 79AD.

Archaeological Park Director Francesco Sirano told ANSA in an exclusive about the latest find in Herculaneum. It is 25 years after the last digs at the ancient Roman town buried by the volcano.

When Vesuvius erupted

When Vesuvius erupted in 79AD, a pyroclastic surge hit the towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae.

Mount Vesuvius violently erupted, spewing up a high-altitude column. Ash and pumice fell across the area, covering it in a blanket. It was during this first day that rescues and escapes took place.  At some time in the night or early the next day, pyroclastic flows in the close vicinity of the volcano began.

People as far away as Misenum, where Pliny the Younger was staying, fled for their lives. The flows were rapid-moving, dense, and very hot. They either wholly or partly knocked down all structures in their path. These were accompanied by additional light tremors and a mild tsunami in the Bay of Naples. The population that remained suffered incineration or suffocation.  The landscape, including the coastline, was altered. By evening of the second day, the eruption was over.

New find at Herculaneum

Archaeologists have made what the Culture Minister described as a “sensational” new find at Herculaneum. The remains of a man stopped merely feet from the sea, engulfed by  an avalanche of fire and gas from Vesuvius.

The discovery may shed fresh light on the last moments of life of the town a few kilometres from Pompeii, Sirano said. “It’s a find from which we expect an awful lot,” Ansa reports him saying.

“A sensational discovery”

 Minister Franchescini said “the sensational discovery of the remains of a fugitive at the archaeological site of Herculaneum is great news. First of all because the find is due to the resumption in this place, after almost 30 years, of scientific excavations conducted by the ministry’s technical staff,” reported Ansa.

He emphasised “the fascinating hypotheses surrounding the mystery of the death of this last discovered victim of the 79 AD eruption are now in the hands of experts, who can rejoice at this result which is also due to the support of the Packard Humanities Institute”.

You can read the full Ansa article, here.

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