Along Via delle Tombe has been found a Samnite tomb of late fifth century BC. Moreover, in a shop close by, French archaeologists of the Centre Jean Berard de l'Ecole francaise de Rome and the CNRS found the skeletons of five young Pompeians, including a child who had sought shelter by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The French archeologists are studying the secrets of the craftsmen of ancient Pompeii and, for one year, they are investigating the remains of the shops which are lined up behind the funerary monuments of the Roman Pompeii, along the road leading to Herculaneum and Naples.
They were looking for traces of the activities of potters and blacksmiths, and they did not hide their surprise when, clearing the area already explored in the nineteenth century by Giuseppe Fiorelli, they ran into a pre-Roman necropolis. You can see this area on a tour of Pompeii.
This necropolis belonged to Samnites that, at the end of the fifth century, from the countryside of the Campania region went to the coast and arrived in Pompeii, as in the rest of the Vesuvian and Neapolitan area, upsetting the organization of the settlements, until they divided up between Greek, Etruscan and Italic peoples.
We know little of this change of population that took place in the late fifth century.
"We throw light on a dark stage of the life of the town – as Massimo Osanna, the director, explains – and the tomb belongs to the first Samnites who set foot in the city".
But the surprises do not end because, by exploring a blacksmith's shop with a barrel vault, the archeologists found the skeletons of 5 Pompeians who were killed by the eruption seeking shelter. “Unfortunately, the environment has been devastated by illegal diggers - as the archaeologist Sandra Zanella of the University Paris Sorbonne Collège de France explains - who have rummaged among the skeletons, taking away most of the objects that the victims had with them. They left three Vespasian coins dated between 73 and 77-78 AD and a tiny jewel in gold foil, which was part of a parure. Then the ordinary ceramics, as a “urceus” which served for the transport of garum, lids of pots with traces of burning, mugs and bowls, which give us an extraordinary image of 79 AD”.
One of the golden coins show on the reverse the image of the Augustan Pax, while the other two show the depiction of Rome, with the wolf and the flight of birds. The bones were removed and taken to the laboratory: here the anthropologists try to understand age and degree of kinship.
Claude Pouzadoux, director of the Centre Jean Berard, insists on the value of cooperation between the Superintendent of Pompeii and the French researchers: "It is the story of a beautiful collaboration that engages so many young people and archaeological researchers. The discovery of a Samnite tomb is very important for the study of the Samnites ". In September, last year, in the same area was already discovered the grave of a Sunni woman.
For a trip back in time book one of our private guided Pompeii tours with a local tour guide.
Staff at Flashback Journey to Pompeii. Our goal is to bring you up-to-date information on events, continuing archeological excavations and more on Pompeii.