STORY: A tortoise and its egg have been unearthed in Pompeii
the Roman city buried in a volcanic eruption in 79 AD
Archeologists say the tortoise probably died before Vesuvius erupted
The unusual find came to light during excavations of an area
that had been devastated by a violent earthquake in 62 AD
(Gabriel Zuchtriegel, Pompeii Archaeological Park Director-General) "In Pompeii, there was a very big earthquake in the year 62 AD. In a shop overlooking the street, new flooring was put down on top of the destroyed one. They leveled the new flooring, which allowed the pregnant tortoise to dig a burrow below and we found an egg inside her. We don't know why the tortoise did not lay the egg. She died - things that sometimes happen, biologists told us. This is interesting because it allows us to reflect on Pompeii in this phase, after the earthquake but before the eruption when lots of houses were being reconstructed, all of the city was a construction site, so evidently not all the houses were rebuilt and areas, even central ones, of the city were scarcely frequented to the extent that they became habitat for wild animals, who found places to lay their eggs.