DISCOVERED: Ancient remains of Roman horse killed by Vesuvius in Pompeii

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
September 25, 2023

horse pompeii roman GETTY

The remains of the 2,000 year Roman horse were discovered in Pompeii

The horse was discovered in the remains of a large Roman villa, which was being excavated illegally by tomb raiders searching for artefacts and valuables – sparking a police investigation.

Archaeologist Massimo Osanna, described the horse as an “extraordinary” discovery.

The horse is believed to have been used in military ceremonies and parades, and possibly for races, according to experts.

The remains of the animal were discovered in a stable connected to the villa.

The tomb raiders had dug a 60 metre-long network of tunnels under the villa in their search for frescoes and artefacts, authorities found.

horse pompeii roman

The horse was discovered in the remains of a large Roman villa

Experts used laser scanners to find the illegal tunnels, which were just 60cm wide.

The remains of kitchen utensils and a part of a wooden bed, which had been miraculously preserved beneath the volcanic ash, were found in the villa.

It was the second major discovery at Pompeii in a few weeks.

Last month, archeologists found the skeleton of a child – believed to be seven or eight years of age – who tried to hide in a public baths complex from the ash and pumice which hit the city during the eruption.

It is thought that the child suffocated by the clouds of ash that covered the city.

pompeii vesuvius roman horse

Tomb raiders dug a 60-metre-long network of tunnels under the villa

The eruption of Mt Vesuvius destroyed both Pompeii and its neighbouring town Herculaneum.

Plaster was pumped into the space where the horse was found, producing an accurate cast of the animal.

Petrified, harnessed hose found in Pompeii owned by military officer

It is a late 19th century technique that was pioneered by some of the first archaeologists to systematically excavate Pompeii.

It is the first time a cast has been made of a horse at Pompeii.

The technique is normally used to make moulds for the human victims of the eruption.

Remains of horse still wearing harness found at Pompeii