Seen at “A Day in Pompeii” traveling exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science:
Like many of the most touching figures recovered from the ruins of Pompeii in Italy, this is a mold fossil— a cavity left when the victim was buried in volcanic ash from the erupting Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. From the placard:
This victim was discovered during excavations at the southern walkway of Pompeii’s Large Palaestra, or athletics ground. When he died, the man was wearing boots and a hooded cloak. He had covered his mouth with the edges of the cloak as the toxic fumes and volcanic ash overcame him.