In the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, Italy, new discoveries have been made that illuminate the life of the middle class in the city before it was buried in ashes by a volcanic eruption.
Pompeii Archaeological Park Director Gabriel Zuchtriegel said that in the excavations carried out in an old Roman house (domus) first found in 2018, valuable information was obtained about the home life of ordinary people in the city, which was buried under ashes in 79 AD.
‘Financial sources did not allow all rooms to be decorated’
Among the new finds are furniture and household items in the sanctuary in the courtyard of the house called the lararium, dedicated to protective deities known as lares.
Zuchtriegel says that although there is a beautifully decorated cistern in the courtyard of the house, “financial resources may not have been sufficient to decorate all five rooms of the house.” It is stated that one of the rooms of the house, which has unpainted walls and an earthen floor, is used as a warehouse.
A bed frame with remnants of pillow fabric in one of the bedrooms is also among the remains. Experts say that the type of bed is similar to those found earlier, which are believed to be the beds of slave families.
Among the items discovered are the remains of an open wooden chest and an oil lamp decorated with a relief depicting the Greek god Zeus turning into an eagle. There is also a small tripod near the chest.
Explorations in the warehouse revealed a wooden cabinet with a still intact back but with collapsed shelves. Archaeologists think that the cabinet had at least 4 doors and that pots and plates were placed inside for use in the nearby kitchen.
‘A population vulnerable to political crisis and famine’
Other finds include a well-preserved sledge-shaped incense pot, a translucent framed plate fragment in bright cobalt blue and emerald hues.
Regarding middle-class life in Pompeii, Zuchtriegel said, “There was a large population in the Roman Empire struggling for social status and trying to earn its daily bread. A class precarious against political crises and food shortages, but ambitious to climb the social ladder.” he speaks.
Excavations had previously concentrated largely on the magnificent and elaborately frescoed villas of Pompeii’s elite inhabitants.
Today, however, archaeological activities focus more and more on the lives of the middle class, slaves and servants.