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New finds in Pompeii highlight middle-class life in the doomed city

New finds in Pompeii highlight middle-class life in the doomed city
Written by boustamohamed31

ROME (AP) – Trunk with open lid. A wooden dish cabinet with recessed shelves. Three-legged accent tables topped with decorative bowls. These latest discoveries by archaeologists add to the knowledge of middle-class life in Pompeii before the violent eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried the ancient Roman city under volcanic debris.

Pompeii’s archaeological park, one of Italy’s top tourist attractions, announced the latest discoveries on Saturday. Its director, Gabriel Zuchtrigel, said the excavation of rooms in the “domus” or home, first discovered in 2018, had revealed valuable details about the domestic environment of ordinary citizens of the city, which was destroyed in AD 79. .

In recent decades, excavations have largely focused on the opulent, ornately frescoed villas of Pompeii’s upper-class residents. But archaeological work at the sprawling site, near modern-day Naples, has increasingly focused on the lives of the middle class, as well as servants and other enslaved people.

“There was a large part of the population in the Roman Empire who struggled with their social status and for whom ‘daily bread’ was anything but a given,” Zuchtrigel said. “A vulnerable class in times of political crises and food shortages, but also ambitious to climb the social ladder.”

The finds unearthed on Saturday included furnishings and household items in the domus, which was named the House of the Larario for a section of a home dedicated to domestic spirits known as lares. The house, opened in 2018, has one in the yard.

Zuchtriegel noted that while the courtyard also had an extremely well-decorated cistern, “apparently the (financial) resources were not sufficient to decorate the five rooms of the home.” One room had unpainted walls and a clay floor, apparently used for storage.

In one bedroom, archaeologists found the remains of a bed frame with a trace of fabric from the pillow. The type of bed is identical to three cot-like beds found last year in a small room in another residence that archaeologists believe served as storage and sleeping quarters for a family of enslaved Pompeian residents.

The bedroom finds, announced Saturday, also included the remains of a wooden chest with an open lid. Although the weight of the beams and ceiling panels that collapsed after 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 transformed into an eagle. Nearby was a small three-legged round table similar to today’s trendy accent tables.

Opening the storage room revealed a wooden closet with the boards still intact but the shelves folded. Archaeologists believe the pantry had at least four paneled doors and contained cookware and utensils for the nearby kitchen. Excavators found a hinge from the enclosure.

Other items found in the house included a large fragment of what had been a translucent plate with bezels in shimmering shades of cobalt blue and emerald, and a well-preserved censer shaped like a cradle.

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