The man, probably limping, was killed by a boulder hurled at high speed by the force of the eruption that practically beheaded him.
The chest crushed by a large block of stone, the body thrown back by the powerful pyroclastic flow, in a desperate attempt to escape from the eruptive fury. It is in this dramatic position that emerges the first victim of the site of the new excavations of the Royal V.
The discovery took place in the area of the new excavations, the Regio V, right on the corner between the Vicolo dei Balconi (the road that the team from the Pompeii Archaeological Park has just unearthed) and the Silver Wedding alley. “We found it in a place where there was a widening and perhaps a fountain – says Osanna – a slice of ground still covered with a considerable layer of pyroplastic material”.
The earth had partially collapsed on him, so that explains why it was not possible to reconstruct the features using the plaster cast technique. It was possible, however, to make other casts all around the skeleton. And they served to understand how dramatic the last moments of this man must have been: a pyroplastic cloud fell on him “with it debris, pieces of iron, tree trunks, pieces of road”.
The first analyzes performed by the anthropologist, during the excavation, identify an adult man aged over 30 years. The presence of lesions at the tibia level shows a bone infection, which may have been the cause of significant difficulties in walking, such as to prevent the man from escaping the first dramatic signs that preceded the eruption itself.