On Saturday, Archaeologists discussed new discoveries and findings in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, the city that was destroyed by the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Archaeologists say that the excavation of a home they have been investigating since 2018 has revealed a lot about what Roman home life was like prior to the city’s destruction in A.D. 79.
“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,” said Gabriel Zuchtriegel, director of the archaeological park at Pompeii. “A vulnerable class during political crises and food shortages, but also ambitious about climbing the social ladder.”
The “Larario house,” as researchers called it, was named such due to the idols, or Lares, that were found stored in the home, according to Reuters.
“The owners of the Larario house in Pompeii had been able to decorate the courtyard hosting the Lares site and a well with outstanding paintings, but evidently they didn’t have enough money for all of the rooms,” Zuchtriegel explained. The director added that “the pleasurable life depicted in the courtyard was probably more of an aspiration than their everyday reality.”
The home’s findings consisted of everyday objects, such as a bed frame, pillow fabric, an oil lamp with an apparent depiction of Zeus, the aforementioned Lares, a wooden trunk and an incense burner, among other things.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted, it destroyed both the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and caused the deaths of approximately 16,000 people. Pliny the Elder, a Roman author, described the massive debris cloud that was caused by the eruption, “It resembled a (Mediterranean) pine more than any other tree. Like a very high tree the cloud went high and expanded in different branches … sometimes white, sometimes dark and stained by the sustained sand and ashes.”
Mount Vesuvius is still considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world as it is situated next to a largely populated area with 700,000 people who would be affected if it was to erupt today.
While the volcano hasn’t had any major eruptions since 1944, it is still considered active and will still sometimes release steam and gas. The summit is particularly dangerous, consisting of steep cliffs down into the volcanic crater and rocky debris of volcanic rock fragments. Pompeii remains one of the most popular tourist sites in Italy as parts of the town have been excavated and can be seen by visitors. Visitation has been down as a result of the COVID pandemic.
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