The skeletal remains of two men, believed to be a master and his slave, have been discovered at Pompeii, the ancient Roman city buried in volcanic ash and pumice after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The bodies of the two men, scalded to death almost 2,000 years ago, are in an exceptionally well-preserved condition.
One of the bodies was likely a man of high status, aged between 30 and 40, who still bore traces of a woollen cloak over his shoulders, in addition to a tunic.
The 2nd, aged 18 to 25, wore a short, pleated tunic and had a number of compressed vertebrae, suggesting that he was a manual labourer or a slave.
The bodies were unearthed in an underground chamber of a large villa at Civita Giuliana, in the outskirts of the ancient city.
The discovery, announced by the Italian culture ministry, has been described as “truly exceptional” by Massimo Osanna, the outgoing director of the Pompeii archaeological park which is currently closed due to the covid-19 crisis.