Archaeologists have unearthed a unique Roman ceremonial carriage from a villa just outside Pompeii, the ancient Italian city buried in a volcanic eruption in over 2,000 years ago. The almost intact four-wheeled carriage made of iron, bronze and tin was discovered near the stables of an ancient villa at Civita Giuliana, around 700 meters north of the walls of ancient Pompeii.
According to Massimo Osanna, the director of the archaeological site, the carriage is the first of its kind discovered in the area. “This is an extraordinary discovery that advances our understanding of the ancient world,” Osanna said, adding that the carriage was likely used in parades and processions.
Pompeii, buried by a volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, is an archaeological treasure trove. About two-thirds of the 165-acre ancient town has been uncovered since organized excavations began in the mid-18th century.
The operation was carried out as part of a program aimed at combating criminal efforts to loot items of cultural heritage from the site using means such as illegal tunnels. Experts said unearthing the vehicle was a difficult undertaking, involving special techniques such as pouring plaster into voids to uncover the carriage without damage.
The park said this had allowed it to emerge almost perfectly preserved down to the imprints of ropes, “thus revealing the chariot in all of its complexity”. “Pompeii continues to amaze us with its discoveries and it will do so for many years, with 20 hectares still to be dug up,” said Dario Franceschini, Italy’s culture minister.