Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pompeii Skeletons Point to Earlier Syphilis

Erotic scene from a Pompeii fresco.

Ongoing examination of a group of skeletons dating to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD is revealing considerable new information about early Roman life in Pompeii. The skeletons are the remains of a group of about 50 Pompeii residents who tried to escape the eruption by hiding in a basement storeroom filled with pomegranates.

Among the new findings are that syphilis likely existed in Pompeii, which overturns the previous belief that the disease was unknown in Europe before it was transmitted in the late 1400s by Columbus’s sailors.

Also, the skeletons show that people were taller than earlier believed and that their lifespans were longer.

Click here for the complete BBC article plus some videos.

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