‘Extraordinary’ 2,000-Year-Old Ceremonial Chariot Unearthed In Pompeii
An incredible four-wheel ceremonial chariot has been discovered just outside Pompeii, the Roman city buried by a volcanic eruption in 79AD.
Archaeologists believe the carriage, which was found almost fully intact, was used during times of celebration, such as festivities, parades and weddings.
Excavators made the ‘extraordinary’ discovery near to a stable where three horses were unearthed, just north of Pompeii, in Civita Giuliana, in 2018.
‘It is an extraordinary discovery for the advancement of our knowledge of the ancient world,’ said Massimo Osanna, outgoing director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, CNN reports.
‘At Pompeii vehicles used for transport have been found in the past, such as that of the House of Menander, or the two chariots discovered at Villa Arianna, but nothing like the Civita Giuliana chariot.’
Considering that the ancient sources allude to the use of the Piletum by priestesses and ladies, one cannot exclude the possibility that this could have been a chariot used for rituals relating to marriage, for leading the bride to her new household.
Efforts to excavate the impressive chariot began on January 7, with archaeologists undertaking complex techniques, such as plaster moulding, to free it without causing any damage.
The piece is described as having ‘iron components, beautiful bronze and tin decorations,’ as well as ropes and floral decoration.
Although it’s unclear how old the chariot was before it was buried, the city of Pompeii was completely covered by a thick layer of ash from a volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius in 79AD, meaning many artefacts from the village have remained completely intact ever since.
Osanna says the discovery of the chariot ‘advances our understanding of the ancient world’.
After its successful recovery, the vehicle was moved to the park’s laboratory, in order to remove any remaining volcanic material, before the full restoration process can begin.
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