Wednesday, September 27

‘Middle class’ apartments discovered in Pompeii with overstuffed closets

The archaeological site of Pompeii (southern Italy) never ceases to amaze and this Saturday has announced the discovery of several apartments typical of the “middle class” with cabinets full of objects closed since the eruption that devastated the city two millennia ago. The director of the archaeological park, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, explains in a statement that the discovery of these furnished rooms offers information on the middle and lower classes of Pompeii, “the majority of its population, but little represented in the sources.”

The excavation revolves around what is known as Casa del Larario, a luxurious sacred space that came to light in 2018, and the experts have now entered four of the rooms that it included, two on the first floor and another two on the ground floor. , at street level. Inside they have come across numerous pieces of furniture and objects that illustrate the life of the Pompeian “middle class” at the moment when everything ended, when the Vesuvius volcano erupted in 79 AD, burying this Roman colony for almost two millennia.

In one of the rooms, simple and with a beaten earth floor, perhaps a pantry, there was a cupboard with five shelves and two meters high that still contains everyday objects such as glasses, plates, ceramics, small containers and amphorae. The cabinet is in the exact place it was at the time of the eruption and is partly broken because the weight of the pyroplastic material caused the roof of the house to collapse.

The experts will continue to investigate what the ash hides on its lower shelves, little by little to protect it.

In another small room, without decoration on its walls, you can see a simple bed with part of its pillow, a three-legged table with a cup on it and an open trunk, as it is believed that it was emptied by its owner at Time to escape from the fire. The type of bed is identical to the one found last year in the slave room of the Civita Giuliana villa, free of any decoration, removable and without a mattress, only with a net of ropes. Inside the trunk was found a small ceramic plate used for eating and an oil lamp with a bas-relief depicting the god Zeus turning into an eagle.

In another of the rooms on the first floor, another cupboard was found with plates and glasses for domestic use, a bronze basin and a “perfume burner” or “perfumer” in excellent condition. “In the Roman Empire there was a wide swath of the population that fought for their own social status (…), a vulnerable class in political crises and famines but ambitious when it came to social climbing,” explains Zuchtriegel.

That is why it is assumed that the residents of the Casa del Larario lived with the same ambition for prosperity because, although some rooms are decorated and have some precious objects, in others wooden furniture of “extreme simplicity” has appeared.

“We do not know the inhabitants of the house, but surely the leisure culture that inspires the wonderful decoration of the patio represents a future that they dreamed of rather than a lived reality,” says the director of the site.

The Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, celebrated this news: “Pompeii never ceases to amaze and is a beautiful story of recovery, proof that if Italy works as a team and invests in young people, research and innovation achieve extraordinary results.” ”.