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Typical houses discovered in Pompeii "middle class" two millennia ago

This undated photo handout on June 24, 2022 by the press office of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii

The Archaeological Site of Pompeii, in Italy, announced this Saturday the discovery of several typical “middle class” dwellings with closets full of objects that had been closed since the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano that devastated the city two millennia ago.

The director of the archaeological site, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, explained in a statement, quoted by Efe, that the discovery of these furnished houses offers information about the middle and lower classes of Pompeii, “the majority of its population, but little represented in the sources”.

The excavation revolves around the so-called Casa del Larario, a luxurious sacred space that saw the light in 2018, and experts have already entered four of the rooms, two on the first floor and another two in the basement, at street level.

Inside, they found countless pieces of furniture and objects that illustrate the life of the “middle class” of Pompeii at the moment when it all ended, when the volcano Vesuvius exploded in the year 79 AD, burying this Roman city for almost two millennia.

In one of the rooms, simple and with a clay floor, perhaps a pantry, there was a cupboard with five shelves and two meters high that still preserves everyday objects such as glasses, plates, ceramics, small containers and amphorae.

The closet is located in the same place it occupied at the time of the eruption and is partially broken, because the weight of the pyroclastic material caused the roof of the house to collapse.

Experts will continue to investigate what the ash hides on its lowest shelves, a painstaking job to preserve it.

In another small room, with no decoration on its walls, you can see a simple bed, a three-legged table with a glass on top, which is believed to have been emptied by its owner after escaping the fire.

The type of bed is identical to the one found last year in the slave room of the villa “Civita Giuluana”, without any decoration, removable and without mattress, only with a hammock of ropes.

In another of the rooms on the first floor, another wardrobe was found with dishes and glasses for domestic use, a bronze barrel and a “perfume burner” or “perfumer” in excellent condition, according to Efe.

“In the Roman Empire there was a large part of the population fighting for their own social status (…), a class that was vulnerable in political crises and in times of famine, but ambitious when it came to climbing socially,” Zuchtriegel explained.

That is why it is assumed that the inhabitants of Casa del Larario lived with that same ambition of prosperity because, although some rooms are decorated and have some precious objects, others have wooden furniture of “extreme simplicity”.

“We don’t know the inhabitants of the house, but surely the leisure culture on which the wonderful decoration of the patio is inspired represents the future they dreamed of rather than a lived reality”, explained the director.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini celebrated this news, saying: “Pompeii does not cease to amaze and is a beautiful story of recovery, the demonstration that Italy works as a team and invests in young people, research and innovation achieves extraordinary results. “.

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