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The skeleton of a Roman man who was decapitated by a giant slab of rock has been discovered by archaeologists in the ancient city of Pompeii.
According to officials, the man, aged in his thirties, was attempting to flee the eruption of Mount Vesuvius when a 300kg rock slammed into him, beheading him and killing him instantly.
The Telegraph reports that this man had struggled to escape the doomed city because he had an infection in his leg. He didn't get off to a good start then.
Archaeologists found the rock sticking out of the ground, with the remains of the man intact from the chest down.
The rock, which experts think may have been part of a stone doorway, was hurled into the air by the force of the eruption, which devastated Pompeii in AD79. It is now known as one of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in European history.
The skeleton was uncovered in an area where new excavations are taking place, close to a freshly-discovered alleyway of houses with balconies.
Massimo Osanna, the director general of the archaeological site, called the discovery 'dramatic and exceptional'.
Osanna, said that this 'exceptional find' that depicts a 'terrible death' are 'the remains of a person with a limp, who was probably prevented from escaping due to motor difficulties and left behind'.
In a statement, archaeologists said: "A formidable stone block (perhaps a door jamb), violently thrown by the volcanic cloud, collided with his upper body, crushing the highest part of the thorax and yet-to-be-identified head, which probably lies under the stone block."
The man had lesions on his tibia which indicated what experts thought could be a serious bone infection which may have stopped him from escaping at the first signs of an incoming eruption.
The archaeologists added that it 'could have caused significant walking difficulties, enough to impede the man's escape at the first dramatic signs which preceded the eruption'.
According to ABC News, archaeologists found the man's skeleton lying on its back in the Regio V area, a newly-discovered excavation site.
The theory is that he was watching the volcano erupt and struggling to escape when he was struck by the stone.
From initial tests, archaeologists believe the man, who survived the early stages of the eruption, went looking for shelter along an alley that was later filled high with lava.
Featured Image Credit: Pompeii Archaeological Site
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