The Pompeii Archeological Park announces the discovery of the skeleton of a man who died while escaping the explosion of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
The 'Unluckiest Man In History'
The man is now described as the "unluckiest man in history" for being able to escape death when the volcano erupted, only to be trapped by a massive square-shaped stone as he continued to seek refuge in a nearby alley.
The large rock, believed to be a doorjamb, was thrown at him by a strong force produced as an aftershock of the volcanic eruption. Photos of the skeleton showed the colossal rock still on top of the victim.
Initial analysis of the remains revealed that he suffered an infection on one of his legs, which may have caused him to limp while running to escape from the approaching rock. His limping may have slowed him down, causing the large boulder to catch up on him and strike him down.
Trying To Flee Mount Vesuvius
The man was the first victim of the Mount Vesuvius's eruption found in the excavation site called Regio V. Archeologists estimated that he was about more than 30 years old. They have yet to find his head, which led them to believe that it may still be underneath the large stone.
"Initial observations would appear to indicate that the individual survived the first eruptive phase of the volcano, and subsequently sought salvation along the alley now covered in a thick layer of lapilli," Pompeii Archeological Park said in a statement.
Lapilli is smaller rock fragments spewed out by the volcano.
The archeologists also concluded that the man did not die from the immediate impact of the large rock on top of him. Instead, the stone crushed gradually as it became heavier due to the "pyroclastic flow," which accumulated across the whole area where he was found.
A pyroclastic flow is usually comprised of a solid layer of hot ash, lava, and gas combined. The weight of the dense layer of the pyroclastic flow may have crushed his thorax, according to the archeologists.
An Exceptional Find
Massimo Osanna, general director of Pompeii Archeological Park, describes the remains as an "exceptional find." Osanna said that it was comparable to the skeleton of another victim, which was recently found in another archeological site.
"Beyond the emotional impact of these discoveries, the ability to compare them in terms of their pathologies and lifestyles as well as the dynamics of their escape from the eruption... contribute toward an increasingly accurate picture of the history and civili[z]ation of the age," he said.
Child's Skeleton Found In Pompeii
In February, archeologists also found a skeleton of a child who was hiding inside a public bath to save himself from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The child, estimated to be around 7 to 8 years old, died of suffocation due to volcanic ashes from the explosion. Experts believed that the ashes thickened while it accumulated on top of the child's body.