Pompeii: Expert takes a look at the victims of Mount Vesuvius

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Mt Vesuvius, Italy, is home to one of the most famous volcanic eruptions in human history. In 79AD the volcano spewed lava so violently, and at such a quick speed, that Vesuvius completely consumed the local cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The blast killed almost 15,000 residents of the city near Naples, Italy.

Pompeii in particular was so well preserved after it was buried in a blanket of ash that archaeologists are still able to make major discoveries.

The latest comes in the form of an ancient Roman ceremonial carriage.

The discovery was made near the stables at the ancient villa of Cita Giuliana, which is 700 metres north of the wall of Pompeii.

The carriage was inside a buried portico on the site and is said to be in an almost perfectly preserved condition.

The ceremonial vehicle, according to the researchers, was made from iron, tin and bronze.

Massimo Osanna, the outgoing director of the Pompeii archaeological site, said the carriage was the first of its kind to be discovered.

Others have been found previously, but they were used for transport whereas the purpose of this one is purely ceremonial.

Mr Osanna said: “This is an extraordinary discovery that advances our understanding of the ancient world.”

He added the carriage would have “accompanied festive moments for the community, (such as) parades and processions”.

A statement from the archaeological park added: “A large ceremonial chariot with four wheels, along with its iron components, beautiful bronze and tin decorations, mineralised wood remains and imprints of organic materials (from the ropes to the remains of floral decoration), has been discovered almost intact.

“This is an exceptional discovery which has no parallel in Italy thus far – in an excellent state of preservation.”

The ruins of Pompeii were not discovered until the 16th century, and excavations did not begin until the 1750s.

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However, the site continues to offer up significant findings, and much more is likely to come.

So far, just two-thirds of the 66-hectare site has been officially excavated.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said: “Pompeii continues to amaze us with its discoveries and it will do so for many years, with 20 hectares still to be dug up.”

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