Historian Bettany Hughes made the chilling discovery after forensically examining the woman’s remains in TV’s Pompeii: Secrets Of The Dead. In 79AD, the Italian city was consumed by a two-day eruption that buried 2,000 people.
Ms Hughes found the woman, in her early 20s and due to give birth in a month, not only prepared her hair as the horror unfolded but had head lice.
She said: “[She] got down to the sea and was trying to get out on this boat but the boat overturned and the sea evaporated. She died in literally two breaths.
“Even though everything was going pear-shaped with this terrible explosion, she still had time to put her little hair comb on.”
A Roman guard found just yards from the woman had been on a rescue mission to Pompeii.
Ms Hughes added: “It’s absolutely possible [that they came together]. But as a historian I can’t absolutely say that. There was very little visibility but they were found very close together.”
Asked if they may have comforted each other, she replied: “He may well have still been on the rescue boat, which then overturned.
“Whether he disembarked I don’t know but they would definitely have shared that same tragic moment. We know that.”
Pompeii: Secrets Of The Dead, Channel 5, Thursday, 9pm