Archaeologists uncover ancient street food shop in Pompeii

By Philip Pullella
ROM (Reuters) - Archaeologists in Pompeii, the city buried in a volcanic eruption in 79 AD, have made the extraordinary find of a frescoed hot and beverage shop that offered Roman passers-by the old equivalent of street food.
Known as Termopolium, Latin for hot drinks counter, the shop was discovered on the not yet publicly accessible area of ​​the Regio V Archaeological Park and unveiled on Saturday.
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In some of the deep terracotta jars of hot food, traces of almost 2,000 year old food were found, which the shopkeeper lowered into a counter with circular holes.
The front of the counter was adorned with brightly colored frescoes, some depicting animals that were part of the ingredients in the food being sold, such as a chicken and two ducks hanging upside down.
"This is an exceptional find. It is the first time that we have excavated an entire termopolium," said Massimo Ossana, director of the Pompeii Archaeological Park.
Archaeologists also found a decorated bronze drinking bowl known as a patera, ceramic glasses used for cooking stews and soups, wine bottles, and amphorae.
Pompeii, 23 km southeast of Naples, was home to
about 13,000 people when it was buried under ash, pumice pebbles
and dust as it endured the force of a burst that is equivalent
lots of atomic bombs.
"Our preliminary analysis shows that the numbers on the front of the counter represent at least some of the food and beverages sold there," said Valeria Amoretti, a local anthropologist.
Amoretti said traces of pork, fish, snails and beef were found in the containers, a discovery she described as "a testament to the wide variety of animal products used in dishes".
About two thirds of the 66 hectare ancient city was exposed. The ruins were not discovered until the 16th
Century and organized excavations began around 1750.
Pompeii is a rare documentation of Greco-Roman life
Italy's most popular attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
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(Reporting by Philip Pullella; editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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