ENTERTAINMENT New Pompeii Finds Highlight Middle-Class Life in the Doomed...

New Pompeii Finds Highlight Middle-Class Life in the Doomed City


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ROME (AP) — A trunk with the lid open. A wooden crockery cabinet, with sunken shelves. Decorative three-legged tables topped by decorative bowls. These latest discoveries by archaeologists are adding to knowledge about life for the middle class in Pompeii before the furious eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried the ancient Roman city in volcanic debris.

The Pompeii archaeological park, one of Italy’s top tourist attractions, announced the recent finds on Saturday. Its director, Gabriel Breeding Bar, said the excavation of rooms in a “domus,” or home, first discovered in 2018, had revealed precious details about the domestic environment of ordinary citizens in the city, which was destroyed in the year AD 79

In decades past, excavation largely concentrated on lavish, elaborately frescoed villas of Pompeii’s upper-class residents. But archaeological activity at the sprawling site, near present-day Naples, has increasingly focused on the lives of the middle class, as well as servants and other enslaved people.

“In the Roman empire, there was a large section of the population who struggled with their social status and for whom ‘daily bread’ was anything but a given,” Breeding Bar said. “A vulnerable class during political crises and scarcity of food, but also ambitious to move up the social ladder.

Finds revealed Saturday include furniture and household items in the domus, which was nicknamed the Casa del Larario after an area of ​​a house dedicated to domestic spirits known as Lares. The house unearthed in 2018 has one in the yard.

Bar Crianza pointed out that while the patio also had an exceptionally well-decorated cistern, “obviously, the (financial) resources were not sufficient to decorate the five rooms of the house.” One room had bare walls and a dirt floor that was apparently used for storage.

In one bedroom, archaeologists found the remains of a bed frame with a trace of pillow fabric. The type of bed is identical to three cot-like beds unearthed last year in a small room in another residence that archaeologists believe doubled as a storeroom and bedroom for a family of enslaved Pompeians.

The bedroom findings announced Saturday also included the remains of a wooden chest with the lid open. Although the weight of the beams and ceiling panels that collapsed in the wake of the volcanic explosion severely damaged the trunk, among the objects found inside was an oil lamp decorated with a bas-relief depicting the ancient Greek deity Zeus transforming in an eagle. Nearby was a small round table with three legs, similar to the decorative tables that are in fashion today.

Exposing the storeroom revealed a wooden cabinet, its backboard still intact but the shelves collapsed. Archaeologists believe the cupboard had at least four panel doors and contained cooking utensils and dishes for the nearby kitchen. The excavators found a hinge of the enclosure.

Other objects found in the house include a large fragment of what had been a translucent dish rimmed in brilliant shades of cobalt blue and emerald, and a well-preserved cradle-shaped incense burner.


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