The Straits Times
Published on Dec 18, 2012

Remains of man in armour found at 'Pompeii of Japan'


TOKYO (AFP) - The remains of a high-caste man wearing armour who was buried by hot ash - possibly as he tried to calm the wrath of an erupting volcano - have been found in an area known as the "Pompeii of Japan".

Archaeologists say they have unearthed the well-preserved body of a sixth-century man who had apparently turned to face a flow of molten rock as it gushed through his settlement.

"Under normal circumstances, you would flee if pyroclastic flows are rushing toward you and bringing waves of heat. But this person died facing it," said Mr Shinichiro Ohki, of Gunma Archaeological Research Foundation.

"Maybe, if he were someone of a high position, he might have been praying, or doing something in the direction of the volcano and attempting to appease its anger," Mr Ohki told AFP on Monday.