The skeleton of the child, thought to be aged seven or eight, found at Pompeii

‘Exceptional discovery by Archaeologist’ at Pompeii: child’s skeleton unearthed

‘Exceptional discovery by Archaeologist’ at Pompeii: child’s skeleton unearthed:

Archaeologists in Pompeii have found the skeleton of a child who tried in vain to hide from the cataclysmic eruption of Mt Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago.

It is the 1st time in about 50 years that a child’s skeleton has been discovered in the remains of the ancient Roman city, which lies just south of Naples and was destroyed in AD79.

The child, believed to be 7 or 8 years old, apparently took refuge in a public baths complex after the volcano erupted and started spewing ash and pumice into the air.

But the building could not save the terrified youngster from the effects of the eruption, which was witnessed by Pliny the Younger.

It is believed that he or she was not killed by falling debris, but instead suffocated by the clouds of scorching ash that enveloped the city, a thriving port on the Bay of Naples.

The ash would have settled on the child body, as it did on so many other victims, and then solidified when rain fell.

Archeologist made the find during a sweep of Pompeii’s central baths complex using sophisticated scanning instruments which picked up an anomaly in the underlying soil.

“This is an extraordinary find, in an area which we thought had been fully Unearthed in the 19th century,” Massimo Osanna, the director general of Pompeii, told La Repubblica newspaper.

“What we can say from an early examination is that the child was between 7 and 8 years old.”

The bones have been removed from the discovery site and transferred to a laboratory for further studies.

It is hoped that DNA analysis will determine whether the child was a boy or a girl, exactly how old he or she was, and whether the youngster was suffering from any illness.

“Thanks to new high-tech instruments, the last child of Pompeii has emerged from inside a previously unexcavated corner,” said Professor Osanna.

“The pyroclastic flow would have entered through the windows, as happened in Herculaneum, and sealed the whole space.”

Mt Vesuvius destroyed not only Pompeii but also Herculaneum. It remains the only active volcano on mainland Europe.

The last major eruption was in 1944 when the towering plumes of ash were captured on camera by Americans air force bombers as they flew past.

Out of a total population of 20,000, it is thought that only around 2,000 people died in Pompei – Vesuvius had been spouting ash and smoke for some days before the eruption and many people had already fled the city.

Source: the local