'Pompeii's unluckiest man' not decapitated by flying rock after all

An ancient figure dubbed “Pompeii’s Unluckiest Man” will likely need a new nickname, notes the New York Times

The man initially earned the title when archaeologists found yet another example of the horrors brought by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

After his headless remains were discovered last month, the archaeologists suspected he had been running from the volcanic eruption when a flying rock decapitated him. 

However, the team recently announced that his skull and upper body had been found in an area just feet apart from the lower limbs. 

In fact, the skull was largely intact, with the mouth open and containing numerous teeth. 

In a Facebook post about the discovery, they explain that the distance between the two sections of remains was likely caused by the collapse of a Bourbon-era tunnel the body had been lying above. 

“We believe he died from being suffocated by the dust and volcanic ash,” Massimo Osanna, the director of the archaeological site, told the Telegraph. “His death was presumably not, therefore, due to the impact of the stone block, as initially assumed, but likely to asphyxia caused by the pyroclastic flow.”

The team also believes the man was in his 30s and possibly a merchant based on the valuable pouch of coins found with his remains.    

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