6. Ancient People And Places Destroyed By Natural Disasters
6. Personal tragedies abound in the petrified streets of Pompeii. Among the bodies found was a pair seeking comfort in each other’s arms. Instead, they died in AD 79 from deadly gas and ash as the nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted.The event that hit the Roman city still ranks as one of history’s worst natural disasters. Due to the positions of the bodies, the assumption that they were two young girls earned them the title “The Two Maidens.” Both were on their sides, curled into each other.Tests in 2017 revealed a surprise and a mysterious relationship. Scans and DNA analysis showed that they were young men, one a teenager of around 18 and the other in his twenties. When the DNA additionally proved that they were not related, the scenario of protective brothers or cousins disappeared.Since their postures betrayed an emotional connection, a theory suggested that the couple was gay. However, the nature of their bond can never be verified. Whoever they were, it is difficult not to be moved by the vulnerability of their last moments.
5. Ebola’s terrifying debut is considered by most to be the 1976 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, recent studies suggested that Ebola could be a prehistoric virus. Fragments of its DNA linger in different rodent species, hinting at an infection that occurred nearly 20 million years ago.Researchers wondered if the disease jumped to humans before 1976. One event fits the bill.In 430 BC, a mysterious epidemic ravished Athens for years. It came from Aethiopia, the Greek name for sub-Saharan Africa. The region has modern outbreaks of Ebola, and in the past, Aethiopians sought work in Greece.Apart from having identified how the disease could have reached Athens, Ebola also resembles the famous plague. It started with fever, fatigue, and vomiting. Pain beset the head, stomach, and extremities. Some bled from the mouth and suffered skin lesions, thirst, and seizures. Most died after a week.Athenian physicians were also among the first to fall. A 2015 outbreak claimed the lives of 500 medical personnel. The plague of Athens could still prove to be something else. However, its origin, symptoms, and mortality rate are consistent with Ebola.
4. The Roman city Neapolis once stood in modern-day Tunisia. Historical records of Neapolis are scarce, but historian Ammien Marcellin recorded its end. On July 21, 365, an earthquake triggered a tsunami that sunk the city, and it remained lost for 1,700 years.In 2017, vast ruins were found in the deep sea off the northeast coast and the view was dramatic.
3. When archaeologists found a 5,000-year-old settlement in northeast China, they encountered a desperate scene. The village contained many huts, but one single-room home was stacked with 97 human skeletons.It appeared that villagers were dying faster than the living could bury them.
2. The same earthquake that destroyed Neapolis also killed a young family on the island of Crete. Their wealthy villa was discovered during the excavations of Eleutherna, a city completely razed by the powerful tremors.The home was lavish. It contained many rooms, including a large banquet hall, cellar, and work areas. Furniture, jewelry, and chests with ornate ivory panels were also found.Just outside the banquet hall in the courtyard were the skeletal remains of three people.
1. Lajia, China, contains homes with cowering skeletons. Located near the upper Yellow River, the site met with disaster 4,000 years ago. An earthquake buried families in their homes with massive mudslides. One woman died on the floor, her arm flung over a child. Further away, two youngsters clung to another adult.But the image that captured worldwide media attention was a woman sitting alone against a wall with a toddler in her lap. Contrary to poignant headlines, DNA tests proved that they were not mother and son.Lajia could validate China’s first dynasty.