March 3, 2024

Pompeii Had Kitchen Shrines, Dozens of Bakeries, and a ‘Pizza’ Fresco

  • New discoveries in Pompeii reveal industrial cooking spaces and new frescos. 
  • The area archaeologists are exploring now has been untouched since the 1800s.
  • A shrine was also discovered, revealing how people of Pompeii practiced religion. 

In new excavations begun in spring 2023, archaeologists found that Pompeii had an industrial bakery and colorful frescoes, one of which is apparently a detailed, pizza-like flatbread. 

Since its destruction in 79 AD by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the site has been continually studied — but despite this, nearly one-third of the city has never been excavated, according to reporting from National Geographic

Co-lead archaeologist on the most recent dig, Alessandro Russo, is working to explore an area of Pompeii that has been untouched since the 1800s, according to reporting from the BBC. During the nineteenth-century dig, the BBC said, archaeologists had unearthed the front of many houses but hadn’t been able to go much further into the homes. The site for the dig is about 32,000 square feet in size, according to the BBC. 

Most recently, the archaeologists working on the site discovered an enormous bakery capable of producing 100 loaves of bread per day — but it wasn’t a shop, according to the BBC’s report of the archaeologists’ findings.

Previously, other bakeries were found in Pompeii, but the newer baking space seems to lack a shop front. According to the BBC, that’s because it was likely a wholesaler of bread that may have served some of Pompeii’s famous “fast-food” establishments. 

Insider previously reported on findings that showed Pompeii residents could get an ancient version of fast food from a counter archaeologists dubbed a “thermopolium,” or “hot-drink counter” in Greek. Over eighty of these thermopolia have been unearthed so far in Pompeii.

The same dig also yielded a fresco apparently showing a pizza, which caused widespread online excitement in late June. 

Much to the internet’s disappointment, though, the Archeological Park of Pompeii soon announced in a press release that it was impossible for the fresco to be a pizza since people in Pompeii would not have had access to ingredients like tomatoes or mozzarella. Instead, according to the park’s archaeologists, the fresco likely depicts a focaccia that has fruit and condiments topping it. 

Several skeletons were also recovered in the dig — joining the estimated 1,300 to 1,500 found in Pompeii in total. According to the BBC, two women and a child were recently found in positions suggesting they were trying to take cover from the eruption. 

According to the BBC, a kitchen shrine was another discovery of the dig. In a detailed fresco, Russo said to the BBC that two yellow serpents painted on the wall are “good demons” who served as connections between the humans and their gods. The shrine in the kitchen allowed people to offer food on their alters. 

The Archeological Park of Pompeii did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, sent outside their normal business hours. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *