The remains of an adult, limping man have emerged in Pompeii in an area of new excavations, the so-called Regio V, at the corner between the Vicolo dei Balconi (Alley of Balconies, the road that the team from the Pompeii Archaeological Park has just unearthed) and the alley of the ‘Nozze d’Argento’ (Silver Wedding).
Probably delayed by his disability, as he turned to watch the spectacular eruption while trying to flee, the man was swept by a pyroclastic cloud and killed by a 300-pound boulder. The stone that killed him, and still crushes him, will be removed soon.
The man’s tibia has traces of a bad bone infection that must have caused him deep pain and made it difficult for him to escape. By the time he left, two meters of lapillus had already settled in the alley. And then a huge stone hit him at the bust, severing his head. Archaeologists found him lying on his back, the upper part of his bust still covered by the stone.
Casts all around the skeleton revealed the dramatic moments the man experienced before dying, when the pyroplastic cloud, dragging with it debris, pieces of iron and pavement, tree trunks, hit him.
Lab tests, with bone and dna exams, will be able to reveal more about the incident and the man himself. Archeologists will also look for his skull to try to reconstruct his facial features.
The news has been reported by ANSA, Italy’s major news agency, which is following the excavations work.
The limping man discovery, Pompeii archeologists and anthropologists say, adds a new important piece to the history of this ancient Roman city 14 miles (23 km) southeast of Naples, destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, now a Unesco World Heritage site.