Archaeologists have discovered that the ‘broken’ Pompeii man’s skull, and it will surprise you

The skull discovered in Pompeii (Pompeii – Parco Archeologico)

Images of a male skeleton, apparently crushed by a rock in the ancient eruption of Mount Vesuvius went viral after their recent discovery.

The excavations at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii unearthed the remains of the man, who was thought to have broken during an attempt to flee the eruption in 79 A. D.

After discovering the unfortunate man’s skull, however, experts do not think that he is now happened on a different, but also gruesome fate. “In the early phase of the excavation showed that the upper part of the thorax and the skull, which had not yet been found, had broken, and dragged down by a stone block which hit the victim,” officials explained in a Facebook post. “His death was probably not, therefore, due to the impact of the stone, such as was initially thought, but the chances of suffocation caused by the pyroclastic flow.”


The identified skeletal remains consist of the upper part of the thorax, the upper limbs, the skull and the jaw, according to Pompeii – Parco Archeologico. “At the moment of analysis, they provide a number of fractures, the nature of which will be identified in order to reconstruct the last moments in the life of man, with greater accuracy,” they said.

The legs of a skeleton coming out of the ground under a large rock believed to have broken the victim’s bust during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A. D. 79, which destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii, in Pompeii, the archaeological site near Naples, on Tuesday, 29 May 2018. (Ciro Fusco/ANSA, via AP)

The upper part of the body of the man was found just under his lower limbs, which officials attribute to tunnels dug on the site during the 18th century.

The skull is the latest gruesome find in the old city, which was destroyed after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii was quickly buried by the volcanic ash, killing approximately 2,000 of the inhabitants of the city, according to


The site has remained unchanged for more than 1500 years until its rediscovery in the 18th century. During the 19th century, archaeologists used plaster to take casts of the vacuum which surrounded the skeletons found in the compacted layer of ash. Left behind by the decomposition of organic residues, the vacuum cleaners offer an eerie snapshot of the volcano victims’ last moments. National Geographic notes the plaster casts’ true-to-life postures and tone of some of the victims, for example, crawling, or sitting with the head in the hands.

Anthropologist Valeria Amoretti work with a brush on a skeleton of a victim of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A. D. 79, which destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii, in Pompeii archaeological site near Naples, on Tuesday, 29 May 2018. (Ciro Fusco/ANSA, via AP)

Archaeologists recently unearthed the final resting place of an old horse among the ruins of Pompeii.

Earlier this year, the body of a child, who had apparently been sheltering in Pompeii’s central bath house complex, was found on the old site.

The Vesuvius, which is the only active volcano on the mainland of Europe, experienced its last serious eruption in 1944, according to LiveScience.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular