Nearly 2,000 years after Mount Vesuvius buried the Roman town of Pompeii in smoldering ash and pumice, archaeologists have announced several rare finds in the ancient ruins.
Four skeletons and gold artifacts were recently discovered inside the site of a former shop located near Pompeii's Herculaneum gate, on the outskirts of the city, Forbes reported, citing Italy’s Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii. (Pompeii is located about 18 miles south of Naples.)
Inside the store, archaeologists found a gold pendant necklace, three gold coins and an oven used to make bronze objects. In another area, they uncovered a limestone tomb, dating to the fourth century B.C., which contains a body of a man.
The four skeletons, believed to have belonged to young people, were found in the back of the shop. The victims, including an adolescent girl, are believed to have sought refuge inside the store before they were overtaken by the volcano.
Sadly, the archaeologists weren’t the first to enter the store's ancient walls.
Looters previously tunneled into the store and in their search of treasure pushed the victims’ bodies against a wall. Several photos shared on the historic city's Facebook page show piles of scattered bones.
The bones’ disarrayed state is far different from the usual Pompeii excavations.
When the volcano erupted in 79 A.D., those who were not able to escape were buried in tons of ash. In many cases, this casing preserved them until their discovery hundreds of years later.
Excavations at the shop, as well as a second in the area, started in May, the Associated Press reported.
A third of the ancient city remains buried beneath volcanic debris.