DNA of Pompeii Man Killed During Vesuvius Eruption Yields Its Secrets Almost 2,000 Years Later
When Italy’s Mount Vesuvius erupted violently in 79 A.D., a cloud of superheated ash killed thousands in and around the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum—including a middle-aged man who perished in an instant as he rested on a chaise lounge inside a Pompeian home. Now, an international team of scientists has fully sequenced the man’s DNA according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports.
The complete sequencing is believed to be the first ever of a Vesuvius victim. It revealed that the man was genetically similar to people living in Rome at the time but also had genes common among residents of the nearby island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea.