According to the archeologists, the excavation of one home they had been working on since 2018 revealed how ordinary people lived in the city before it was destroyed by lava and volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
“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 archeological park at Pompeii. “A vulnerable class during political crises and food shortages, but also ambitious about climbing the social ladder.”
— Pompeii Sites (@pompeii_sites) August 6, 2022
The home being worked on was known by researchers as the “Larario house” because of the idols (Lares) 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.
He added that “the pleasurable life depicted in the courtyard was probably more of an aspiration than their everyday reality.”
Findings in the home included everyday objects like the remains of a bed frame, pillow fabric, a wooden trunk, an oil lamp with the image of Zeus on it, an incense burner, and other objects.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted, it destroyed the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The eruption led to the deaths of up to 16,000 people. It is still considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its proximity to populated areas, including Naples, that contain more than 700,000 people.
The volcano has not seen any major eruptions since a 1944 blast, but is considered active and still belches out steam and gas on occasion. The crater summit is particularly dangerous because its walls are comprised of steep cliffs and volcanic rock fragments of rocky debris.
Pompeii remains one of the most popular tourist sites in Italy, and visitors can also travel to the volcano and Herculaneum. Over two million people per year normally visit the ancient city, though numbers were down in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID pandemic.
Greg Wilson contributed to this report.