Rome (dpa) – Archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved slave room during excavations in the ancient city of Pompeii.
Three beds, some amphorae, vases and a box with bridles for horses were found in the chamber, which measures about 16 square metres, on a plot of land just outside the city that was buried in a volcanic eruption in the 1st century.
The room had probably served the masters of the house as a storeroom and at the same time as unadorned accommodation for the slaves.
“Here we now see something that normally remains in the shadows,” Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the museum director of Pompeii, told dpa on Saturday.
Zuchtriegel, who was born in the south-western German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, recalls that ancient lore and writings usually focus only on the life of the upper classes. The new find now offers the chance to get a glimpse into the life of the slaves.
At least three slaves probably slept in the room. The beds were simple wooden cots covered with ropes, on which cloths or carpets were laid. Two beds were about 1.70 metres long, one – probably for a child – 1.40 metres.
In the corners were amphorae belonging to the master of the house. In two amphorae under the beds, the slaves probably kept their belongings, Zuchtriegel said.
In addition, a wooden box with bridles and metals stood in the middle of the room, which had only one small window, and a drawbar leaned against the bed. This belonged to a pageantry wagon discovered in the next room earlier this year.
“We did not expect to find such a room. Yet we often walked past it,” Zuchtriegel remarked. One room further on, the remains of three horses had been discovered, which had already caused a stir in 2018.
The ancient city of Pompeii lies at the foot of the volcano Vesuvius. During eruptions in 79 AD, ash, mud and lava had buried the settlements and partially preserved the city.
Pompeii was rediscovered in the 18th century. The excavation site is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy and repeatedly uncovers sensational finds.