“This type of find is a novelty for this area of Pompeii,”a spokesperson for the archaeological site said in a statement shared to social media. “Almost two thousand years from the eruption of 79 AD, Pompeii continues to give us treasures.”
The discovery is unusual not just for the colour preservation, which will allow visitors to the site to see the houses almost exactly as the city's original residents did, but also because it is so unusual in Pompeii for upper storeys to have been preserved.
This is because the city was buried from above, unlike nearby Herculaneum for example which was buried by volcanic ash from the ground up. Located further from the volcano than Herculaneum, Pompeii was also buried in a less thick layer of debris (four metres on average, compared to over 20 in Herculaneum), which meant conservation of the upper floors was rarer.
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“A series of buildings with three large balconies have emerged in an area now being excavated. On one of the balconies, pots of wine lying on their side [were also found, which were] probably put out to dry in the sun,” the statement continued.
Experts will now restore the houses, which will be open to the public as part of a new tour route at the popular site once the necessary work has been completed.
The street is the latest in a series of novel finds over the past few weeks, with excavations underway to stabilize walls at risk of collapse. Just a week earlier, archaeologists were able to cast the complete figure of a horse for the first time ever at the site. Along with a pig and a dog, it is one of the few animals of any species to be successfully cast at Pompeii.
And a month earlier, an excavation uncovered the complete skeleton of a young child in a bathhouse long thought to have been fully excavated. That find was the first time a complete skeleton has been discovered at Pompeii in some 20 years, and the first time a child's remains have come to light in around half a century.