The latest excavations in Region V, in the northern area of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, have discovered the first victim of this unexplored area of the ancient city: a skeleton crushed in its upper half by a huge block of stone, a shocking scene that evokes an individual desperately fleeing from the furious eruption of Vesuvius.
The individual, an adult male over 30 years of age according to preliminary analyses, was knocked down by the pyroclastic flow resulting from the volcanic eruption and a formidable stone block, perhaps the jamb of a door, ended up finishing him off on the ground: the the upper thorax has been shattered and the head has not yet appeared, but is probably under the heavy block of stone.
The dramatic scene, revealed today by the Pompeii Archaeological Park, has remained untouched for nearly 2,000 years.
The skeleton has been discovered at the junction formed by the alley of the House of the Silver Wedding and the recently excavated alley of the balconies. Initial observations seem to indicate that the individual survived the first eruptive phase of the volcano and then sought refuge in one of the alleys, today covered by a thick layer of lapilli (pyroclastic fragments). The skeleton was found at the height of the first floor of the adjacent building, above the lapilli layer. It was then that he was knocked down by the dense pyroclastic flow and crushed by the stone block.
The presence of injuries to the tibia indicates that he suffered from a bone infection that may have caused serious difficulties in walking, severe enough to have prevented him from escaping the violent eruption that devastated Pompeii.