Rare Discovery: Archaeological dig in Pompeii uncovers remains of pregnant turtle


A pregnant tortoise was discovered during excavations in Pompeii. When Vesuvius erupted, the animal was supposed to search the rubble of an earthquake-damaged dwelling for a place to lay eggs.

(Photo: Image by Jebulon)

Search for the remains

archaeologists discovered the bones of a pregnant turtle who fled to the rubble of a house destroyed by an earthquake in AD 62, only to be suffocated by volcanic ash and rocks as Mount Vesuvius erupted.

The Hermann’s tortoise and its egg were discovered during excavations in a part of the historic city that had been razed by the earthquake and is being rebuilt for the construction of public baths, authorities said on Friday. After the volcanic explosion in AD 79, Pompeii was destroyed.

Archaeologists believe the tortoise, native to southern Europe, took refuge in the rubble of a house that was too badly damaged by the earthquake to recover.

Failed to seek shelter

The fact that the animal was still holding her egg showed that she died before finding a safe, friendly place to deposit it, according to Gabriel Breeding, director of the Pompeii Archaeological Park.

“This allows us to think about Pompeii after the earthquake, but before the eruption, when many houses were being rebuilt, the whole city was a building site and apparently certain places were so underutilized that wild animals could roam, invade and try.” to lay their eggs,” he explained.

It’s not the first tortoise to be discovered in Pompeii, and breeding bars explained that organic and agricultural items discovered outside of Pompeii’s city center are a significant subject of ongoing excavation and study.

The tortoise’s finding contributes to “this tapestry of relationships between culture and nature, community and environment that symbolizes the history of ancient Pompeii,” he says.

Also Read: After 70 Years of Lost, Brazilian Paleontological Site Leads to Discovery of Over 100 Fossils

Ongoing excavation

Along with The archaeological site of Pompeii, the Free University of Berlin, the University of Napoli L’Orientale and the University of Oxford are excavating at the Stabiane Baths in Pompeii.

Look back

Vesuvius volcano

(Photo: Getty Images)

Vesuvius, an Italian volcano in the Gulf of Naples, has erupted more than 50 times. The volcano’s most famous eruption occurred in AD 79, when he buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii under a thick blanket of volcanic ash. According to one witness, the dust “flowed like a river over the ground” and shrouded the city in “a darkness…like the black of locked and unlit rooms”.

Two thousand people were killed and the city was deserted for over two years. When a group of explorers revisited Pompeii in 1748, they were surprised to find it essentially intact behind a thick layer of dust and debris. The buried city’s structures, artifacts and skeletons have taught us much about daily life in ancient times.


Of course, the volcano Vesuvius did not form overnight. Mount Vesuvius is part of the Campania volcanic arc that runs along the Italian peninsula where the African and Eurasian tectonic plates meet and has been erupting for thousands of years.

An extremely intense eruption (now called the “Avellino eruption”), for example, erupted around 1780 BC. Millions of tons of superheated lava, ash and debris some 22 miles up the mountain’s sky were destroyed by this prehistoric cataclysm.

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