Pompeii unearths intact slave chamber

The discovery sheds light on the living conditions of the slaves of Pompeii.

A slave quarter emerged intact during excavations at the suburban villa of Civita Giuliana north of Pompeii, Italian news agency ANSA reports.

The find was called “exceptional” by Pompeii director Gabriel Zuchtriegel, who said it “very rarely” sheds light on the lives of the most disadvantaged people in Pompeii society.

The simple furnishing of bare-walled little quarters is a far cry from the luxury associated with the frescoed bedrooms of the wealthy.

There are three beds – one obviously for a child – in wood and rope, with traces of fabric coverings and even a chamber pot next to a bed.

The rest of the cramped space contains tools, a horse harness, a small jug, vases and large amphorae, providing a snapshot of the lives of the poorest.

Studies will be carried out to see what the amphoras contained, reports ANSA, while above the small window hung a lamp. “It probably served to amplify the glow produced by the fire,” Zuchtriegel said.

The chamber survived intact while the portico withstood the volcanic ash and pumice that buried the area after the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.

The only damage done to the chamber was the pickaxe holes made by the recent illegal actions of tombarolior grave robbers, who now face criminal charges.

Zuchriegel told ANSA that the goal was to eventually open the small room to the public.

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