An ancient tomb was just discovered under the ruins of Pompeii
In 79 AD, the Roman city of Pompeii was removed from the face of the Earth. The harbor city in southern Italy was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, killing nearly 11,000 people.
Within a few generations it was completely forgotten. The destruction even pre-dated by several hundred years the word that destroyed it, “volcano.”
Pompeii was found again in 1599, but it wasn’t until 1748 that the city began to be truly uncovered. From that point on, it was born again. Over the years since its rediscovery, it has become a tourist destination more than an archeological site.
In a surprising discovery, archeologists have uncovered an ancient tomb in Pompeii that pre-dates the disaster by hundreds of years, and even pre-dates the Roman civilization itself.
The tomb was discovered thanks to a recent dig near the Herculaneum Gate and the awesomely named Villa of the Mysteries. The team is still cataloging the new find, but they believe it housed a member of the Samnite society.
The area was initially settled by the Oscan people in the 6th or 7th century BC, and they were later conquered and assimilated by the Samnites in the 5th century BC. In the 4th century, the Samnites fell under Roman rule, then in 89 BC they joined the Italian rebellion against Rome. The pre-Roman Pompeii fell in 80 BC, and the Pompeii we are familiar with came shortly after.
The tomb contains what the archeologists believe are the remains of an adult woman between 35 and 40 years old. The tomb also contained several vases, clay jars, and more. The team also believes that the jars contain food and even cosmetics.
“It is an exceptional find for Pompeii because it throws light on the pre-Roman city about which we know so very little,” archaeological superintendent of Pompeii, Massimo Osanna, told The Local, Italy (which was then translated by archeology.org).
According to History.com, Osanna was appointed by the Italian government to oversee the ruins of Pompeii following several collapses due in part to neglect. The find is an unexpected bonus, and part of what has researchers so excited is that it highlights a culture that is mostly unknown.
The Samnite culture was assimilated by the Romans, and what was left of them to be uncovered by archeologists fell victim to grave robbers, and more recently the Allied bombing of Italy during the Second World War.
“These excavations prove that the city of Pompeii is still alive and that we must preserve it as it continues to provide us with material for research,” Osanna said.
Beneath one of the world’s most famous archeological sites may be the remains of another society just waiting to be found. Even if you aren’t into history, it’s hard not to see how cool that might be.