The destruction of the city of Pompeii is one of the most tragic events in the history of mankind. The island city was lost to time when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD and covered the city with 13 feet - 20 feet layers of soot and ash. The city was rediscovered and excavated in 1599 and further excavations brought with them more heart-breaking revelations.
Buried under the layers of ash were spaces that once housed the bodies of those who met their untimely demise owing to the tragedy. Their bodies decomposed over a long period of time but since they were buried between layers of ash, what remained were spaces. These spaces were then filled - first with plaster and then resin - to give them shape and it resulted in a clearer picture of the last moments of the residents of Pompeii. The place is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts more than 2.5 million tourists a year.
More recently, archaeologists and other scientists have uncovered more secrets by carefully restoring and scanning the preserved bodies of 86 Romans who died and whose casts have been excavated.
The following is an image of a 4 years-old.
The scans have revealed many previously unseen details. For example, researchers were surprised at the state of the Romans’ teeth. Overall, they are in excellent condition, given the time period during which the people lived. From this information, researchers suggest that the Romans must have had a low-sugar, high-fibre diet and may have even had eaten healthier than we do.
Other details were less surprising. Many of the victims’ scans showed that they suffered from severe head trauma, probably sustained from collapsing buildings or falling rubble during the earthquakes that followed the eruption. The poses of the people show how they died; some were trapped in buildings, whilst others sheltered with family members. One victim was frozen in time with his hands above his head in a protective gesture, seemingly in an attempt to stave off death.
The researchers are preparing these scans for an exhibition called “Pompeii and Europe”.
Title image: KS
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