“Terrified mother and child’s final moments preserved in ash after Pompeii volcano blast 1,900 years ago”
A terrified mother and child’s final moments after the devastating Pompeii volcano have been unearthed for the first time in 1,900 years.
One of the most catastrophic and damaging volcanic eruptions the world has ever seen, it claimed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killed unknown thousands of Romans.
The pieces are soon to be shown at a Pompeii and Europe Exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy.
Molten rock rained down on the surrounding landscape at a rate of 1.5 million tons per second in an eruption thought to have released 100,000 times the thermal energy of the Hiroshima bombing.
In recent years, archaeologists used hollows in the volcanic ash where victims’ bodies fell and decayed. They have filled these cavities with plaster to see the outline of their final resting places.
There has been much excavation work of the area, with more than 1,000 casts of bodies being made in Pompeii alone.
In 2010, studies showed that a surge reached temperatures of 300°C in Pompeii.
Volcanologist Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo, who led the study said: “(It was) enough to kill hundreds of people in a fraction of a second”.
In reference as to why the bodies were frozen in suspended action, Giuseppe explained: “The contorted postures are not the effects of a long agony, but of the cadaveric spasm, a consequence of heat shock on corpses.”
The eruption was foreshadowed at the time by smaller earthquakes in the preceding days, but nothing was done by authorities.
A Roman poet Pliny the Younger, who was 17 at the time, recorded much of what happened during the eruption, but it is thought that a horrific cloud of ash, volcanic gas and stones spewed from the volcano to a height of around 21 miles. . . . .