Officials at the Pompeii archaeological site have discovered what appears to be the skeleton of a man crushed by a block of stone while trying to flee the explosion of Mt Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
Archaeologists at the Italian Ministry for Arts and Culture on Tuesday released a photograph of the 2000-year-old skeleton pinned beneath the stone.
The pictures show the stone, which may have been a door jamb, crushed on top of the man’s body, which his head possibly buried beneath.
Archeologists suggest the victim, who was at least 30 years old, had his thorax crushed, as the stone was “violently thrown by the volcanic cloud”.
Archaelogists believe the stone slab weighs more than 290kg.
Officials also said the man suffered an infection of the tibia, which may have caused walking difficulties, impeding his escape.
General director of the Archeological Park of Pompeii Massimo Osanna the skeletal discovery as “dramatic and exceptional”.
He said the “exceptional find” and “terrible death are “the remains of a person with a limp, who was probably prevented from escaping due to motor difficulties and left behind.”
“Beyond the emotional impact of these discoveries these new skeletal finds can be compared to others so we can compare pathologies and lifestyles and the dynamics of escape from the eruption.”
The ancient city and its surrounding area were buried in rock and ash after the massive eruption and the site was lost for about 1500 years.
But with excavations and new technology, officials have been able to provide a detailed image of what life was like at that time.
“This discovery has shown the leaps in the archeological field,” Mr Osanna said.
“The team on site are not just archeologists but experts in many fields; engineers, restorers and (have) the technical tools like drones and 3D scanners.
“This is the first time an excavation happens with all of these tools. In the 1800s and 1900s, they dug in the area where we found the skeleton, but they did not go as deep as we did. Because of the experts we had, we knew how to do it.
“Being able to investigate them, with increasingly specific expertise and tools, allows us to form an ever more precise history of the civilisation at that time.
“Now we have the possibility to rebuild the space as it once was.”