Ancient Rome: First-Ever Horse Found in Lost Pompeii Villa With Tomb

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General view of the archaeological site on April 12, 2014, in Pompeii, Italy. Italian authorities have discovered the full outline of a horse for the very first time just north of the lost city. Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images

Archaeologists have discovered parts of an ancient Roman villa in the lost city of Pompeii and re-created a complete figure of a horse buried in volcanic matter for the very first time.

The find was made after archaeologists spotted some clandestine tunnels in the area north of Pompeii. They began excavations in August to claim any lingering artifacts before looters got there first. Digging in at Civita Giuliana, a northern suburb of Pompeii, the team of experts found myriad, valuable imprints and items, including the "extraordinary" equine discovery.

"The excavation has brought to light a series of service areas of a large, exceptionally well-preserved suburban villa, from which several artifacts have emerged (amphorae, kitchen utensils, part of a wooden bed that was used to make the calco) and a tomb," a statement by the Pompeii Archaeological Park said.

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The Roman city suffered a catastrophic end during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., but the volcanic matter has preserved valuable imprints of its inhabitants' last poses. Using plaster to cast the figures, scientists have been able to re-create many figures from the time.

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General view of the archaeological site on April 12, 2014, in Pompeii, Italy. Italian authorities have discovered the full outline of a horse for the very first time just north of the lost city. Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images

Parts of the villa in Civita Giuliana had previously been explored by archaeologists, though this largely included the area for the master's quarters. The latest dig unearthed the parts of the house where servants worked and lived, as well as outside areas such as the apparent barn, where the horse was found.

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Scoperta straordinaria nell’area di Civita Giuliana, nella zona Nord fuori le mura del sito archeologico di Pompei, dove erano stati intercettati cunicoli clandestini. Grazie all’operazione congiunta del Parco Archeologico di Pompei con la Procura della Repubblica di Torre Annunziata, gli investigatori del Comando Gruppo Carabinieri di Torre Annunziata e del Nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Culturale di Napoli che stavano già indagando su queste attività illecite, dallo scorso agosto è stato avviato un intervento di scavo allo scopo di proseguire nelle indagini e salvare il patrimonio archeologico in pericolo. Oggi il Direttore Generale del Parco Archeologico di Pompei, @massimo_osanna ha presentato in esclusiva l’eccezionale ritrovamento e l’operazione messa in campo con l’attività di scavo in corso. L’intervento ha portato alla luce una serie di ambienti di servizio di una grande villa suburbana conservata in maniera eccezionale, dalla quale sono emersi anche diversi reperti (anfore, utensili da cucina, parte di un letto in legno di cui è stato possibile realizzare il calco) e una tomba del periodo post 79 d.C. che custodiva lo scheletro del defunto. Per la prima volta è stato, inoltre, possibile restituire, attraverso la tecnica dei calchi, la sagoma integra di un cavallo rinvenuto in uno degli ambienti dello scavo. • • Extraordinary find from Pompeii. In the area of Civita Giuliana, the north suburbs of the city, clandestine underground tunnels had been intercepted. Thanks to the operation of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, with the Procuration of the Republic of Torre Annunziata, the investigators of the Carabinieri Group Command of Torre Annunziata and of the Cultural Heritage Protection Unit of Naples, has been started an operation in order to continue the investigation and save the archaeological heritage. The Director General of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, Massimo Osanna, presented the excavation work in progress. The intervention has brought to light a series of rooms of a large, exceptionally well-preserved suburban villa. ___ 📷 Visit our gallery and share your photos with the hashtags #Pompeii #Pompei #pompeitempusvita

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The team that discovered the horse imprint estimates that the animal would have been larger than average and was likely a show horse, because traces of valuable ornaments were found near it. They are confident the animal is not a mule, donkey or any other kind of equine other than a horse because of the detailed mark that one of its ears left in the ground.

The park's museum posted images of the finds, including some of the amphorae and the tomb, which was actually built after the eruption. This means some locals returned to live near the ruins in Civita Giuliana even after the city it was attached to perished.

Ancient Rome: First-Ever Horse Found in Lost Pompeii Villa With Tomb | World