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Archaeologists cast light on unique, partially mummified Pompeii man

Rome, Aug 17 (EFE).- Partially mummified remains of a man discovered in Pompeii have raised questions among archeologists about burial practices in the Ancient Roman city, where deceased adults were traditionally cremated.

“It is a very important and unique discovery,” Llorenç Alapont, a researcher at the Department of Prehistory, Archeology and Ancient History at the University of Valencia and one of the people in charge of the excavation, told Efe.

 “It is the only tomb in Pompeii with a chamber for burial and also with an inscription that tells not only the life of the deceased but also his love for theater and artistic works, especially in Greek,” he said.

 “For the first time we can verify that theater shows were performed in this language in the city,” he added.

The tomb, believed to date to the final decades of the city before it was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 BC, has the remains of paint preserved on its façade, showing green plants on a blue background.

An inscription on the tomb indicates that the partially mummified body is that of Marcus Venerius Secundio, whose name appears in the Pompeian banker Cecilius Jucundus’ wax tablet archives as a public slave and guardian of the temple of Venus.

Once freed, he rose to a higher social and economic status, as shown by the monumental tomb in which he was buried.

Besides the mummified body, the tomb includes two cinerary urns, one of which is thought to belong to a woman named Novia Amabilis, who could have been his wife.

“Now the great mystery is why he chose to be buried and not cremated like the two members of his family,” the Valencia university professor said.

“We have several hypotheses; the first is that it was a person who had a Greek affiliation or a weakness for Greek art and culture, because burial was the preferred option in Greece at this time,” he added. EFE

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