Horse Found in Pompeii Excavation

A complete figure of a horse buried in volcanic matter has been discovered in Pompeii for the very first time. Archaeologists discovered the ghostly outline of the creature while excavating parts of an ancient Roman villa in the lost city.

The find was made after archaeologists spotted some clandestine tunnels in the area north of Pompeii. They began excavations in August 2017 to claim any lingering artifacts before looters got there first. Digging in at Civita Giuliana, a northern suburb of Pompeii, the team of experts found myriad, valuable imprints and items, including the “extraordinary” equine discovery.

“The excavation has brought to light a series of service areas of a large, exceptionally well-preserved suburban villa, from which several artifacts have emerged (amphorae, kitchen utensils, part of a wooden bed that was used to make the calco) and a tomb,” a statement by the Pompeii Archaeological Park said.

Horses were an important part of daily life in the wealthy resort city as well as throughout the Empire, and were immortalized often in Roman Imperial artworks, including in some of Pompeii’s famous mosaics.

Reference: “Horse and Stable Discovered in Pompeii.” Archaelogy, 11 May 2018.

Decorative Roman Furniture Attachments, c. 150. Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Nr. 27.221.

Greco-Roman-Byzantine Horses, c. 150, restored 1979. Gilded bronze. Brought to Venice from Constantinople in 1204 and installed on the façade of San Marco; restored and removed to the museum in 1979. Museo della Basilic di San Marco, Venice, Italy.

Roman Provincial Mosaic from the House of Sorothus, Triumph of Neptune; detail of the central section showing Neptune in a chariot drawn by sea horses, c. 250. Musée national du Bardo (Tunisia).

Cast, Cut, and Polished Glass Fragmentary Horse’s Leg, c. 50 BCE. The British Museum.

Piazza Armerina, Villa, pavement detail. C. 325-350.

House of Menander, Pompeii: wall painting Trojan Horse, C. 63.

Tintinnabulum Ithyphallic Horse and Dwarf from Pompeii, C 50. Photo: University of California, San Diego.

Roman Imperial Bronze Horse Figurine, c. 150-250. Saint Louis Art Museum.

Further Reading: Gianfranco Marrone; Dario Mangano. Semiotics of Animals in Culture: Zoosemiotics 2.0. Cham: Springer 2018. 

Marisa Ranieri Panetta. Pompeii: The History, Art and Life of the Buried City. Vercelli: White Star, 2013. 

Posted by Jean Marie Carey

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