In Pompeii, a terrified mother and her child’s last seconds together—forever frozen in time—were brought to the surface this week from within the earth. After being buried together for almost 2,000 years, archaeological experts have found what can only be called an incredibly yet heartbreaking discovery: a parent and her baby encapsulated in ash during their very last moments. Canada Journal News reveals this Monday, May 25, 2015, that plaster cast specialists were successfully able to immortalize this scene, and it has since taken the Web by storm following its posting online.
The natural disaster of the Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in Pompeii hundreds and hundreds of years ago is oftentimes only a lesson to be learned in the history classroom. Yet the intact skeletal remains of a frightened mother and her young child, believed to be no more than four years old at the time, were recovered this week in an archaeological digging site. The harrowing find suddenly makes the past starkly present with this unforgettable bond that has been immortalized through ash and time.
In a tragic showing, experts posted a photo this week of the plastered cast that was made from the skeletons of what appears to be a “scared boy … sitting in his mother’s lap.” Researchers and archaeologists at the site believe that the young boy had likely hurried to his mother when the massive volcano erupted over the Roman city in 79 AD, approximately 1,900 years ago. There was virtually no time to prepare for the cataclysm. The ash that covered the family’s forms ultimately preserved their remains, freezing them forever in time.
According to HNGN News, even the conservators were extremely touched by the poignant and altogether heartbreaking scene they strove to “recreate” in a modern sense. “It can be very moving handling these remains when we apply the plaster,’ conservator Stefania Giudice shared in a statement to journalist Natashas Sheldon. The Naples Archaeological Museum authority also said, “Even though it happened 2,000 years ago, it could be a boy, a mother or a family. It’s human archaeology, not just archaeology.”
The sheer heat, power, and destruction caused by Mount Vesuvius erupting in Pompeii that left this terrified mother and so unbelievably maintained are well documented. A volcanologist recently chimed in to a local media outlet: “(It was) enough to kill hundreds of people in a fraction of a second,” volcanologist and study leader Giuseppe Mastrolorenzo noted in his report.. “The contorted postures are not the effects of a long agony, but of the cadaveric spasm, a consequence of heat shock on corpses.”
Not featured in the above photo is a cast representation of what is believed to be the mother’s husband and another young boy. Experts believe the family—speculating the father was with another child, who would thus have been the boy’s sibling—was therefore together at the time the devastating tragedy struck. These and other cast restorations are part of a comprehensive recovery project involving 86 plaster preservations at the Pompeii Archaeological Site. Such a vivid and poignant image surely demonstrates that the loving bond between mother and child has existed in human history for many, many years.