For the first time ever, archaeologists have been able to cast the complete figure of a horse that perished in the volcanic eruption at Pompeii.
The “extraordinary” discovery was made outside the city walls, in Civita Giuliana to the north of Pompeii proper, the site’s directors announced this week.
Excavation in the area revealed what archaeologists identified as a stable, complete with the remains of a trough. From its remains, they believe the horse was an adult measuring around 150 centimetres tall at the withers:
on the short side by today’s standards, but given that horses were probably smaller at the time, the experts say it would have been exceptionally large for its time.
While the skeletons of donkeys and mules have been found at Pompeii, in a stable attached to the Casa dei Casti Amanti (‘House of the Chaste Lovers’), it’s the first time archaeologists have unearthed the complete outline of a horse.
The distinct imprint left by its ear, pressed to the ground as the animal lay on its left side, makes them confident this is indeed a horse and not another type of equid.