Made of plaster, the rather heavy masks were unearthed in 1749 in Pompeii during the excavations promoted by King Charles of Bourbon. They were deposited, along with many other artifacts, in the Royal Palace of Portici, a town on the Bay of Naples.
“They ended up being totally forgotten, and indeed we do not have much information about them. We do not even know where they were unearthed in Pompeii. The 18th century dig journals only vaguely record that 15 masks were excavated,” Mariarosaria Borriello, the scholar who rediscovered the masks, told Discovery News.