Chariot emerged intact from the excavation process.
Nearly 2,000 years after the city of Pompeii was buried in ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, another eerily preserved artifact has been found in surprising condition.
A four-wheeled processional chariot was discovered among the suburban ruins of Civita Giuliana, an excavation site north of Pompeii.
"A large ceremonial chariot with four wheels, along with its iron components, beautiful bronze and tin decorations, mineralized wood remains, and imprints of organic materials (from the ropes to the remains of floral decoration), has been discovered almost intact in the portico facing the stable where, in 2018, the remains of three equidae, including a horse still in its harness, had already been found," said a press release from the Archaeological Park of Pompeii.
The excavation,which proceeded slowly over the following weeks due to the fragility of the elements,unearthed a ceremonial chariot,miraculously spared by the collapse of the walls and ceiling and by the illegal tunnels passing it by on two sides without compromising the structure pic.twitter.com/FIMe07NUmz— Pompeii Sites (@pompeii_sites) March 2, 2021
The chariot was discovered as part of a dual-objective project: to cooperate with the investigations in order to bring an end to the looting of cultural heritage by perpetrators who had dug several tunnels in the area in order to intercept archaeological treasures, and to reveal one of the most significant villas of the Vesuvian area and to protect it from further looting.
The project allowed stabilization and restoration on artifacts that were unearthed, including archaeobotanical analyses of the wood of structures.
The chariot was initially discovered on January 7 when archaeologists unearthed an iron artifact that led them to believe something larger was beneath the surface. Various pieces of the chariot have since been transported to onsite labs for restoration and reconstruction.
The interventions which have been carried out over recent months in Civita Giuliana have required an interdisciplinary team composed of archaeologists, architects, engineers, restorers, vulcanologists and specialised workers but also archaeobotanists and anthropologists. pic.twitter.com/0qKG6q7FdM— Pompeii Sites (@pompeii_sites) March 2, 2021
According to the park, the scenes on the medallions, which embellish the rear of the chariot refer to Eros (Satyrs and nymphs), while the numerous studs feature Erotes. Considering that the ancient sources allude to the use of the Pilentum (a ceremonial chariot) by priestesses and ladies, one cannot exclude the possibility that this could have been a chariot used for rituals relating to marriage, for leading the bride to her new household.
“It is an extraordinary discovery for the advancement of our knowledge of the ancient world”, declared Massimo Osanna, outgoing Director of the Archaeological Park, “At Pompeii vehicles used for transport have been found in the past, such as that of the House of Menander, or the two chariots discovered at Villa Arianna (one of which can be admired at the new Stabian Antiquarium), but nothing like the Civita Giuliana chariot."
You can learn more about this amazing discovery at Pompeiisites.org.
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