NewsEntertainmentIn Pompeii, a 2000,000 year old tortoise was found...

In Pompeii, a 2000,000 year old tortoise was found with its egg

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The remains of a land turtle, a tortoise, with its fragile egg kept in the carapace were found in a shop in via dell’Abbondanza. A testimony of the vast ecosystem of Pompeii, composed of natural and not only anthropogenic traces and a precious archaeological evidence of the last phase of the city’s life, after a violent earthquake in 62 AD and before the fateful eruption of 79 AD. place, as part of an excavation and research campaign on the Stabian baths, conducted by the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Naples L’Orientale, with the University of Oxford in collaboration with the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, aimed at investigating the urban development of the residential area before the establishment of the thermal baths. In particular, this year the remains of a sumptuous domus with refined mosaics and wall paintings, dating back to the 1st century, have emerged in the shops open on the south-eastern side of the thermal baths along via dell’Abbondanza and vicolo del Lupanare. BC and razed to the ground after the earthquake that devastated Pompeii and large parts of Campania in 62 AD. Subsequently, the area was used for the expansion of the thermal complex on the intersection between via dell’Abbondanza and via Stabiana. “The excavation campaign underway in Pompeii – affirms the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini – continues to reserve important finds and new discoveries, confirming the extraordinary richness of this authentic treasure trove of history and memory that fascinates the whole world”. seen the unexpected discovery of a small reptile: the archaeological layers in which it was found were accumulations of detritus, formed following the disposal of the shop in question, in view of its re-functionalization. During the reconstruction and renovation phase between the earthquake and the eruption, the reptile had the opportunity to enter the abandoned spaces and dig, undisturbed, a refuge. It is not the first discovery of tortoises in Pompeii, but usually they have been found in gardens or areas inside rich domus, such as the house of Giulio Polybius. The tortoise was documented and removed in three successive stages: documentation of the carapace (approximately 14 cm, while a fully mature specimen usually measures 20-24 cm), of the internal skeleton of the animal and of the plastron (i.e. the ventral part of the shell ). The find was transferred to the Park’s Applied Research Laboratory where it will be studied and analyzed by the Park’s archeozoologist. The specimen of Testudo hermanni, a local female species, had probably taken refuge in the abandoned space to find a suitable place for deposition of its only egg (usually 1 to 5 eggs are laid). Tortoises have a peculiarity, dystocia, that is, if they do not find a suitable place, they can retain the eggs, encountering often fatal problems. They therefore prefer to die, rather than lay eggs where the environment is not congenial. The intrusion of the animal was not noticed by those who took care of the re-functionalization of the shop, and its remains were covered without being seen. “Both the presence of the tortoise in the city and the abandonment of the sumptuous domus which gives way to a new sector of the Stabia thermal baths illustrate the extent of the transformations after the earthquake of 62 AD – says the director general Gabriel Zuchtriegel – Evidently not all the houses were rebuilt and areas, even central ones, of the city were little frequented so as to become the habitat of wild animals; at the same time the expansion of the baths is a testimony of the great confidence with which Pompeii started again after the earthquake, only to be crushed in a single day in 79 AD The tortoise adds a piece to this mosaic of relationships between culture and nature, community and environment that represent the history of ancient Pompeii. In the coming years, the study of organic finds and research on agriculture, economy and demography in Pompeii and its territory will be a priority in our research, protection and enhancement strategy, also to give more visibility to sites and monuments outside the urban center, such as the rustic villa of Boscoreale and the villas of Torre Annunziata and Castellammare di Stabia “.

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