The discovery in the archaeological park of Pompeii (southern Italy) of the furniture and decoration of a room in the Roman villa of Civita Giuliana, about 600 meters from the walls of the ancient city, helps to rebuild the life of slaves in the town destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The image of the room as it was almost 2,000 years ago, made with the tracing technique, which only exists in Pompeii and its surroundings, "seems like a current photograph denouncing a precarious situation," the Italian Ministry of Health explained on Sunday. Culture.
The remains of two beds found in the new room, which has been called "room A", allow "thinking of a precise hierarchy within the servants", since while one of them is "extremely simple and without a mattress", the other is "of a more comfortable and expensive type, known in the literature as a 'backed bed'", with traces of red decoration.
In the latest excavations, two small partially preserved cabinets and various utensils have also been found, including an iron shovel, as well as a series of amphoras and vessels similar to those found in 2021 in "environment C", also where the slaves lived. and where the presence of at least three mice before the eruption of Vesuvius has now been detected.
These are two mice in an amphora and a rat in a jar, placed under one of the beds, from which it seems that the animal was trying to escape when it died in the pyroclastic flow of the eruption, "which once again underline the precarious and hygienic conditions in which the last of the society of the time lived".
"The owners used various privileges, including the possibility of forming a family, although without any legal protection, to tie some slaves more closely to the village, also in order to have them as allies in the surveillance of the others," said the director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, Gabriel Zuchtriegel.
"What emerges here is the social structure of the serfdom that had to prevent escapes and forms of resistance, among other things because there are no traces of bars, padlocks and trunks. It seems that control was carried out mainly through internal organization easement, and not through barriers and physical restrictions," he added.
According to the Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, "what has been reconstructed confirms the need to continue scientific research in a place that, thanks to the work of the magistracy and the police, has been uprooted from looting and illicit trafficking in archaeological goods to tell remarkable moments of the daily life of antiquity".