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Thread: Newly discovered child skeleton in Pompeii to undergo DNA analysis

  1. #1
    Advisor Jovialis's Avatar
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    Newly discovered child skeleton in Pompeii to undergo DNA analysis

    Archeologists in Pompeii have discovered 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 first time in about 50 years that a child’s skeleton has been found in the remains of the ancient Roman city, which lies just south of Naples and was destroyed in AD79.

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

    Archeologists 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 excavated in the 19th century,” Massimo Osanna, the director general of Pompeii, told La Repubblica newspaper.

    “What we can say from an early analysis is that the child was between seven and eight years old.”

    The skeleton was found in February, but news of its discovery was only announced on Wednesday.

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

    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 illnesses.

    “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 American 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 Pompeii – Vesuvius had been spouting ash and smoke for some days before the eruption and many people had already fled the city.

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    Advisor Angela's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    "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."

    How sad. The poor thing must have been terrified. I suppose the health of the child might tell us if it was likely this was a slave child or not.

    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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