Archaeologists discover room highlighting slave life in ancient Pompeii

MILAN, November 6 (Reuters) – Archaeologists have discovered a room in a villa just outside Pompeii containing beds and other items that shed light on the living conditions of slaves in the ancient Roman city buried by a volcanic eruption.

The room, in excellent condition, contains three wooden beds and a series of other objects including amphorae, ceramic jugs and a chamber pot.

“This important new discovery enriches our understanding of the daily life of the ancient Pompeiians, in particular of this class of society about which little is yet known,” said Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini.

In Roman law, slaves were considered property and did not have legal personality.

The “slave room” is close to where a ceremonial car was discovered earlier this year, near the stables of an ancient villa of Civita Giuliana, about 700 meters north of the walls of ancient Pompeii . Read more

Above the beds, archaeologists discovered a wooden chest containing metal and fabric objects that might have been part of the horses’ harnesses while on a bed a cart tree was found.

Two of the beds were 1.7 meters long while the third was only 1.4 meters, indicating that the room may have been used by a small slave family, the culture ministry said.

The 16-square-meter room, with a small overhead window, also served as storage, with eight amphorae found tucked away in the corners.

Pompeii, 23 km (14 miles) southeast of Naples, was home to around 13,000 people when it was buried under ash, pumice pebbles and dust as it was subjected to the force of a eruption in AD 79, equivalent to many atomic bombs.

The site, discovered only in the 16th century, has seen an explosion of recent archaeological activity aimed at putting an end to years of degradation and neglect.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Giles Elgood

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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