We know what Roman chariots looked like from the many paintings and drawings that exist from the Roman era. But last month, archaeologists discovered a new intact Roman chariot buried in the ground near the ancient city of Pompeii.
Pompeii was a large, wealthy city near Naples, Italy that was unexpectedly buried under a layer of thick volcanic ash and pumice from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The eruption caught many of the city’s inhabitants off-guard. Those that were trapped in the city were buried under about 15 feet of ash which preserved many of the buildings – and bodies of those who died there. When archaeologists began digging in the area during the 1960’s, they found a city that was virtually frozen in time.
In 2018, archeologists studying the area found the remains of three horses under the ash. One of the horses was still wearing its bridle. Scientists continued working in the area and were surprised to find the remains of an ancient Roman chariot next to one of the horses. Thieves had dug tunnels throughout the site, one of which passed right next to the Roman chariot.
Most of the chariot’s parts were still intact, the iron axle and wheels as well as the carriage body decorated with beautiful bronze and tin artwork. Researchers believe the chariot was used in ceremonies, possibly weddings, to carry two people to and from a celebratory venue.
Check out pictures of the Roman chariot in the photo gallery below.