New Pompeii highlights middle-class life in a city doomed to fail

Leave a box with its lid open. Wooden dish cabinet, shelves open. Three-legged tables topped with decorative bowls. These recent discoveries enrich archaeologists’ knowledge of middle-class life in Pompeii before the furious eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried the ancient Roman city in volcanic debris.

The Archaeological Park of Pompeii, one of Italy’s top tourist attractions, announced the latest discoveries on Saturday. Its director, Gabriel Zustregel, said the excavation of the chambers of the Domus, or house, first discovered in 2018 revealed precious details about the local environment for ordinary citizens of the city, which was destroyed in AD 79.

Image showing the latest discoveries in the ancient city of Pompeii, which enrich knowledge about the daily lives of middle-class families.

Pompeii Archaeological Park via The Associated Press

In the past decades, excavations have largely focused on the palatial, frescoed villas of upper-class Bombay residents. But archaeological activity at the sprawling site, near modern-day Naples, increasingly focused on middle-class life as well as servants and other enslaved people.

“In the Roman Empire there was a large section of the population struggling for their social status and for whom ‘daily bread’ was nothing but a certain thing,” said Zustregel. A weak class during political crises and food shortages, but also an ambition to climb the social ladder.”

Italy Pompeii ordinary people

Archaeologists are working on the site of a new discovery.

Pompeii Archaeological Park via The Associated Press

The finds unearthed on Saturday include furniture and household items in Domus, which has been named the Larario home for a home area dedicated to household spirits known as Lares. The house that was discovered in 2018 has a house in the yard.

Zuchtriegel noted that while the courtyard also contained an exceptionally well-decorated cistern, “it was evident that the (financial) resources were not sufficient to decorate the five rooms of the house.” storage.

In a bedroom, archaeologists found the remains of a bed frame with a trace of fabric from the pillow. This type of bed is identical to three cot-like beds discovered last year in a small room in another home that archaeologists believe doubled as storage and sleeping quarters for a family of enslaved Pompeians.

The bedroom findings released on Saturday also included the remains of a wooden box with an open lid. Although the weight of the beams and roof slabs that shattered in the aftermath of the volcanic eruption severely damaged the trunk, among the items found inside was an oil lamp decorated with reliefs depicting the ancient Greek god Zeus transforming into an eagle. Nearby was a small round table with three legs, similar to the decorative tables fashionable today.

Italy Pompeii middle class

Photo provided by the press office of the archaeological site of Pompeii showing the latest discoveries in the ancient city of Pompeii.

Pompeii Archaeological Park via The Associated Press

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

Other objects found in the house include a large portion of what was a translucent plate with edges in gleaming colors of cobalt blue and emerald, and a well-preserved incense burner in the shape of a cradle.

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