Interesting conclusions from research conducted on one of the preserved remains of a Herculaneum inhabitant from almost 2,000 years ago have been published recently.
The work was in the “New England Journal of Medicine”. As part of the study, archaeologists removed vitreous black material from the victims’ skull. Scientists suspect that these are the remains of a male brain, and the interesting form of the organ results from the so-called vitrification process – i.e. burning the material at high temperature, and then suddenly cooling it, turning it into a glassy state. According to the researchers, these are the first surviving brain remains that have undergone the vitrification process. Interestingly, this type of find was not found in other parts of the city.
The examined body belonged to a man aged about 25 who died of a wooden bed as a result of hot gases that fell on Herculaneum. Analysis of charred wood suggests that the temperature was even 520°C.
Photo: The New England Journal of Medicine/Dr Pier Paolo
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