Archaeologists unearth ancient "snack bar" in Pompeii

The city of Pompeii was buried in a devastating volcanic eruption in AD 79, but archaeologists are still discovering extraordinary structures in the area. On Saturday they unveiled their latest discovery - an extremely well-preserved old "snack bar".
Regio V's Thermopolium would have been a store selling hot groceries, which is the equivalent of a modern street cart or fast food establishment, officials said. It was partially excavated in 2019 and fully exposed on Saturday.
Regio V's Thermopolium, an old snack bar, was excavated in Pompeii. / Photo credit: Pompeii Archaeological Park
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In the ruins were items such as a picture of a nereid riding a sea horse and a fresco of gladiators in battle. During the final phase of the excavation, archaeologists discovered more colorful still life scenes, including depictions of animals likely to be sold in the store, such as mallards and a rooster.
There was also a depiction of a dog on a leash that appeared to act as a warning, as well as a complete skeleton of a dog between the shop doors.
Archaeologists discovered a depiction of a threatening-looking dog on a leash at the thermopolium. / Photo credit: Pompeii Archaeological Park
"There is a mocking inscription on the frame surrounding the painting of the dog: NICIA CINAEDE CACATOR - literally 'Nicias (probably a freedman from Greece) Shameless Sh *****!', Officials said." This was probably left by a joke trying to make fun of the owner or by someone who worked in the thermopoly. "
Archaeologists also found containers in which almost 2,000 year old bone fragments of animals were sold, which were sold there and kept in the shop counter. Traces of pork, fish, snails and beef were found in the containers. Archaeologist Valeria Amoretti said "the wide variety of products of animal origin that are used in the preparation of the dishes".
In the small square in front of the shop there was a fountain and a water tower. In the shop itself there were nine amphorae, a bronze drinking bowl named Patera, two bottles and other ceramic glasses.
Human bones were also found at the site, some of which belonged to a 50-year-old man who appeared to have been in bed at the time of the outbreak.
A large number of terracotta jars were found at the location of the thermopoly. / Photo credit: Pompeii Archaeological Park
"The opportunities to study this thermopoly are not only another glimpse into daily life in Pompeii, but also extraordinary, as for the first time an area of ​​this kind has been excavated in its entirety and all have been analyzed, what today's technology allowed, "said Massimo Osanna from the Pompeii Archaeological Park. "The finds will be further analyzed in the laboratory and, in particular, the remains in the counter's dolie (terracotta containers) are expected to provide exceptional data to help understand what was being sold and what the diet was like."
According to official sources, Thermopolia, where residents enjoyed drinks and hot food, was very common in ancient Rome when people usually consumed food outside the home. Pompeii alone had 80 of them.
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