The city of Pompeii It became sadly famous for the eruption that 2,000 years ago wiped out the entire population and was one of the worst natural disasters in history.
And to learn more about the population of this Italian town, scientists from the University of Rome did a genome sequencing of the inhabitants, discovering incredible situations, such as the proliferation of diseases such as tuberculosis.
The eruption of Vesuvius is considered one of the most devastating volcanic catastrophes in human history. In 70 CE, the volcano erupted epically, killing thousands of residents of the nearby cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and other settlements.
These victims were killed by the intense heat of the pyroclastic surges that the volcano sent through its surroundings, or smothered by gas, ash, and pumice that then rained down from the sky.
In a jewelry job, scientists for years put together pieces of DNA of these citizens entombed in lava, and an attempt was made by archaeologist Gabriele Scorrano of the University of Rome in Italy and colleagues to apply these techniques to the remains of two human victims of Vesuvius.
The couple was found in a room in a building now known as the House of Fabbro, or House of the Craftsman. The first individual was a male, between 35 and 40 years old at the time of death, who was about 164.3 centimeters tall.
The second individual was a female, over 50 years old when she died, measuring about 153.1 centimeters tall. Both heights are consistent with Roman averages of the time.
The team compared the sample with genomes from 1,030 ancient and 471 modern individuals from western Eurasia. The results suggest the man was Italian, with most of his DNA consistent with people from central Italy, both in ancient and modern times.
“Our study, although limited to one individual, confirms and demonstrates the possibility of applying paleogenomic methods to study human remains from this unique site,” the researchers write in their article.
“Our initial findings provide a basis for further intensive analysis of well-preserved Pompeian individuals. Supported by the enormous amount of archaeological information that has been collected in the last century for the city of Pompeii, their paleogenetic analyzes will help us to reconstruct the lifestyle of this fascinating population of the Roman imperial period.”
The research has been published in Scientific Reports.