Pompeii: Discovery Of Well-Preserved Slaves Room Sheds Rare Light On Ancient Roman Life

Ella IDE Pompeii scientists disclosed Saturday the discovery of the remains of a “slave chamber” in a very unique find at a Roman villa destroyed by Mount Vesuvius’ explosion over 2,000 years ago.

Three wooden beds, a chamber pot, and a wooden chest holding metal and cloth goods were discovered in the restricted living quarters of a vast house in Civita Giuliana, roughly 700 meters northwest of Pompeii’s city walls.

The finding comes about a year after the bones of two victims of Mount Vesuvius’s AD79 eruption, thought to be a master and his slave, were discovered in the same home.

A chariot shaft was also discovered in the chamber, which archaeologists believe housed a small family that did day-to-day labor in the villa, including preparing and maintaining the chariot.

The only natural light in the 16-square-meter area came from a single high window, and no wall decorations were visible.

The find was “extraordinary,” according to Gabriel Zuchtriegel, director of Pompeii’s archaeological site since it provides a rare glimpse “into the perilous existence of individuals who seldom appear in historical texts, which were almost entirely recorded by men belonging to the elite.”

Several personal items, including big amphorae used for storing personal things and pottery jugs, were discovered beneath the mattresses. The three beds, one of which was a child’s size, were built of rope and wooden boards.

“What strikes me the most is the tiny and precarious character of this space, which is somewhere between a dormitory and a storage room,” Zuchtriegel remarked.

“Even without the presence of major ‘treasures,’ it is without a doubt one of the most thrilling discoveries of my life as an archaeologist.” The actual richness here is the human experience – in this case, that of ancient society’s most vulnerable members – to which this room bears unique witness.”

Excavations at the Civita Giuliana villa site began in 2017, and many antiquities, including a ceremonial chariot and a stable holding the bones of three harnessed horses, have been discovered.

Three frescoes stolen from the villa in 2012 were restored to the archaeological park in May.

Casts of the corpses of the two Vesuvius victims discovered at the home last November were made. The two males, who were found close together, are thought to have survived the initial phase of the eruption, when the city was shrouded in volcanic ash and pumice, only to be killed by a second blast the next day.

According to experts, the younger guy, who was presumably between the ages of 18 and 25, had many crushed vertebrae, leading them to suspect he was a manual laborer or slave.

The elder man, who was between the ages of 30 and 40, had a stronger bone structure, especially around his chest, and was dressed in a tunic. They were discovered laying in what seemed to be a corridor of the mansion.

In August, the partially mummified remains of a former slave who ascended through the social levels were discovered in a tomb near the necropolis of Porta Sarno, one of Pompeii’s main gates.

The tomb is said to have been built a decade before the city was devastated by Mount Vesuvius’ eruption.

The partially damaged bones of a man buried by the explosion were discovered last month on the seashore at Herculaneum, an old Roman town a few kilometers north of Pompeii.

Archaeologists think the guy, who was between the ages of 40 and 45, was murdered as he attempted to evacuate the eruption just feet from the lake.

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