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The terrible end of ‘last fugitive’ of Herculaneum

Gonzalo Sanchez

Rome, Dec 1 (EFE).- The recent discovery of the “last fugitive” of Herculaneum, a 40-year-old man who was killed when Vesuvius first erupted, promises to shed more light on one of the worst disasters the world has known.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Francisco Sirano, the director of the archeological site Herculaneum, an ancient Roman city close to Pompeii that was wiped off the map by the violent eruption of Vesuvius two millennia ago, said: “His discovery gave me empathy.”

In October, the site in southern Italy announced the discovery of a skeleton embedded in a rock wall near the beach and called it the “last fugitive” of the tragedy, and a question immediately arose: who was that unfortunate man?

For the moment little is known, except that he was a man between 40 and 45 years of age who was near the coast when he was swept away by the first fire, ashes, gas and remains of the ancient city.

His clothes “evaporated immediately” due to the high temperatures and his bones still show numerous fractures due to the blows and mutilations he suffered from the remains submerged alongside him in the pyroclastic torrent.

Research to learn more about this man will continue and the study of the remains of a small wooden box that has just been located and that apparently the victim was carrying wrapped in a cloth will be key.

The entire area will be the subject of a “multidisciplinary” analysis to document the volcano’s lava flow, financed by the Ministry of Culture and with the support of the Packard Humanities Institute, which has donated the project for the development of the old beach area.

This is the first skeleton to be discovered since the excavations at Herculaneum were concluded 25 years ago, which until then had documented a total of 330 skeletons of men, women and children who suffered the same tragic end.

Next to them, numerous remains dragged by the lava flows were found, such as bushes, roots, trees, large beams of buildings, fragments of cornices, roofs and even masts of ships, tokens of a city then on the verge of certain extinction.

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