POMPEII, Italy – Not a day goes by without new archaeological discoveries in Regio V, a hitherto largely unexplored area of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was destroyed in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted, spewing hot ash and rubble over the settlement and killing over 1,000 of its inhabitants.
According to Laura D’Esposito, one of the many experts toiling away to uncover the buried remains of Pompeii, the site has become an area of archaeological interest unmatched by any other.
“Nowadays, you don’t find excavations like this,” D’Esposito told EFE, adding that her work allowed her to “relive the tragedy of the eruption from both a human and a historical perspective.”
This was the first time the press had been invited for a tour of the Regio V site since archaeologists began the painstaking work of excavation there a year ago.
Since then, experts have uncovered three new domus residences, which once housed the upper echelons of Roman society.
The vibrant walls, often red in typical Pompeii fashion and only slightly dulled by the passage of time, slowly come to light as excavators chip away at the layers of encrusted ash.
One such domus was dubbed the “house of the dolphins” after a depiction of two golden dolphins adorning its interior wall.
Teams on site have also found upturned Roman pots and jugs, left in situ where they were laid out in the sun to dry on that fateful day.
These relics owe their well-preserved condition to the fact that they have spent the better part of two millennia suspended in a pile of ash and rubble sandwiched between the ground and a collapsing wall.
Perhaps the best-known finding in Regio V so far is the skeleton of a man whose flight from the eruption was brought to an abrupt end when a huge rock smashed him in the face. Images of his remains were shared by media the world over.
Archaeologists have also unearthed political slogans daubed onto one of the walls, which site director Massimo Osanna described as “exceptional and extraordinary documents that must be preserved.”
“I beg you to choose Elvio Sabino, worthy of the State, a good man,” read one such campaign statement.
For D’Esposito, these discoveries not only provide a more detailed account of everyday life in the ancient city but they also help us gain an understanding of what techniques were employed by the artists of Pompeii to create their paintings and frescoes.