The bones tell Pompeii's story

These bones have been buried for almost 2,000 years. Yet, they tell a tragic story to archaeologists who recently discovered this skeleton in the ruins of Pompeii in Italy.

They are the remains of a 35-year-old man who died in AD79 when the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius poured lethal, pyroclastic flows that famously buried the ancient city.

Archaeologists who studied the bones believe this man walked with a limp and had turned around to look at Vesuvius just as the city was engulfed in poisonous gas and ash.

Most of the thousands of victims died where they stood when the eruption struck, leaving hauntingly shaped voids in the hardened ash layer after their bodies decomposed.

Vesuvius has erupted several times since then, with the most recent in 1944.

Excavations on Pompeii started as early as the 16th century but became noted between 1924 and 1961 when several historically prestigious buildings were uncovered and identified.

To this day, experts continue to find cultural, architectural and human remains, including three horses believed to have been trapped in a villa's stable.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2018, with the headline 'The bones tell Pompeii's story'. Print Edition | Subscribe