Pompeii: Archaeologists unveil ceremonial chariot discovery

Experts believe the chariot may have been used in ceremonies such as weddings
HANDOUT VIA EPA

Archaeologists in Italy have unveiled a ceremonial chariot they discovered near the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.

The four-wheeled carriage was found near a stable where three horses were uncovered back in 2018.

Experts believe it was likely used in festivities and parades, with the find described as “exceptional” and “in an excellent state of preservation”.

Pompeii, engulfed by a volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius in AD79, is an archaeological treasure trove.

The volcanic eruption buried the city in a thick layer of ash, preserving many of its residents and buildings.

The chariot was found in a double-level portico connected to stables at an ancient villa at Civita Giuliana, north of the walls of the ancient city.

A statement by the park described the ceremonial chariot as having “iron components, beautiful bronze and tin decorations” as well as ropes and floral decoration discovered “almost intact”.

Archaeologists say efforts to safely free the chariot took weeks after it first emerged during an excavation effort on 7 January.

They said the fragility of the materials involved made their effort particularly complex, with special techniques, including plaster moulding, used to uncover it without damage.

The operation was carried out in collaboration with a local prosecutor’s office amid criminal efforts to loot items of cultural heritage from the site using means such as illegal tunnels.

‘Extraordinary discovery’

Officials described the carriage as without parallel among other finds in Italy.

“This is an extraordinary discovery that advances our understanding of the ancient world,” Massimo Osanna, the director of the site, said in a press release.

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