‘Extraordinary’ Pompeii discovery after ‘hidden treasure’ of wealthy ...

POMPEII archaeologists made a "truly extraordinary" breakthrough after locating the "hidden treasure" of a wealthy family's villa.

PUBLISHED: 10:30, Fri, Dec 4, 2020 | UPDATED: 10:33, Fri, Dec 4, 2020

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Pompeii: Expert takes a look at the victims of Mount Vesuvius

Almost 2,000 years ago Mount Vesuvius erupted in one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in history, sprawling a cloud of superheated tephra to a height of 21 miles. This horrifying natural disaster ejected molten rock, pulverised pumice and hot ash at 1.5 million tonnes per second, obliterating the Roman settlement of Pompeii and burying thousands under the burning rubble. But it also covered the city in a blanket of thick material, capturing a snapshot of life at that moment – a priceless marvel for modern archaeologists.

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And historian Bettany Hughes got the opportunity to visit one of the incredible villas during Channel 5’s ‘Secrets of Pompeii’s Greatest Treasures’.

She said: “This is the jaw-dropping House of Menander.

“When archaeologists started digging here they had little idea of what laid in store under layers of volcanic rock.

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“An incredible house with more than 40 rooms, measuring a colossal 2,000 square metres.

Hidden treasure was found in PompeiiHidden treasure was found in Pompeii (Image: GETTY/CHANNEL 5)

Bettany Hughes explored the villaBettany Hughes explored the villa (Image: CHANNEL 5)

“This is no ordinary house, it’s more like a 2,000-year-old party palace.

“It took six whole years to fully excavate this enormous house, and archaeologists became increasingly puzzled as to who on Earth could afford this lifestyle of luxury.” 

Ms Hughes explained how experts made a breakthrough in understanding who the owner of the villa was.

She added: “The mystery endured for another decade when archaeologists uncovered a clue which helped solve the puzzle.

“Two skeletons were found and next to them was a little ring, but on it were written the words ‘Q Poppaeus’ and, brilliantly, that gives us the name of the owners.

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