Tuesday, October 4

Pompeii discovery highlights middle-class life in Italy’s doomed city


  • The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried in volcanic debris in 79 AD
  • Excavations of a home first unearthed in 2018 have revealed the environment of ordinary citizens.
  • Early excavations at Pompeii mainly highlighted upper-class villas.

ROME – A trunk with its lid left open. A wooden dishware closet, its shelves caved in. Three-legged accent tables topped by decorative bowls. These latest discoveries by archaeologists are enriching knowledge about middle-class lives in Pompeii before Mount Vesuvius’ furious eruption buried the ancient Roman city in volcanic debris.

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

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

“In the Roman empire, there was an ample chunk of the population that struggled with their social status and for whom ‘daily bread,’ was anything but a given,” Zuchtriegel said. “A vulnerable class during political crises and food shortages, but also ambitious about climbing the social ladder.”


www.usatoday.com

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