In ‘rare discovery’, archaeologists find intact ceremonial chariot near Pompeii

MILAN – Officials at the Pompeii archaeological site in Italy announced on Saturday the discovery of an intact ceremonial chariot, one of several important discoveries made in the same area outside the park near Naples following an investigation into an illegal excavation.

The cart, with its iron elements, bronze ornaments, and mineralized wood remains, was found in the ruins of a settlement north of Pompeii, beyond the walls of the ancient city, parked in the portico of a stable where previously there were the remains of three horses. discovered.

The Archaeological Park of Pompeii described the car as “an exceptional discovery” and said that it “represents a unique find, which until now has no parallel in Italy, in an excellent state of conservation”.

The eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 destroyed Pompeii. The cart was saved when the walls and roof of the structure it was in collapsed, and it also survived looting by modern-day antique thieves, who had tunnelled to the site, grazing but not damaging the cart of four wheels, depending on the park. officials.

The cart was found on the grounds of what is one of the most important ancient villas in the area around Vesuvius, with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea. on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city.

Last year, archaeologists found in the same area outside Pompeii, Civita Giulian, the skeletal remains of what is believed to have been a wealthy man and his slave, trying to escape death.

The first iron element of the car emerged on January 7 from the layer of volcanic material that filled the two-story portico. Archaeologists believe that the cart was used for festivities and parades, perhaps also to take brides to their new homes.

While carts for daily living or the transport of agricultural products had previously been found in Pompeii, officials said the new find is the first ceremonial cart unearthed in its entirety.

The villa was discovered after police found the illegal tunnels in 2017, authorities said. Two people who live in the houses above the site are currently on trial for allegedly digging tunnels at the site.

– The Associated Press

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