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Newly discovered Pompeiian vases show panic over Mt. Vesuvius' eruption

Archaeologists have discovered 10 clay vases from a pottery workshop in Pompeii. The vases, found under a layer of ash from Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79 C.E., were apparently "just ready to be fired," according to Discovery News.

The vases reveal "a frozen-in-time picture of the exact moment panicked potters realized they were facing an impending catastrophe," Discovery News reports. They dropped the vases when they saw smoke in the air and began running for their lives. "They abandoned the workshop and everything they were doing at that moment," Laetitia Cavassa, the dig's director, told Discovery News.

(N. Meluziis shot / French School of Rome)

The pottery workshop was discovered outside the Herculaneum Gate. It included two kilns and at least three pottery rooms. During the excavation, Italian and French archaeologists also found pottery wheels used in the vases' production. They believe the 10 vases would have been used to pour wine or water.

"These vases are direct evidence that the workshop was fully active at the moment of the eruption," Pompeii's archaeological superintendency said in a statement. "They represent a key element in the study of craft activities in the Roman town."