Archaeologists find ancient street food store in Pompeii
Known as termopolium, Latin for hot drink counter, the store was discovered at the Regio V site of the archaeological park, which is not yet open to the public. Traces of 2,000-year-old pork, fish, snails and beef were found in some of the terracotta pots.
Archaeologists in Pompeii, the city buried by a volcanic eruption in AD 79, have made the extraordinary discovery of a frescoed beverage and hot food store that served the ancient equivalent of street food to passers-by in Rome.
Known as termopolium, Latin for hot drinks counter, the shop was discovered on the Regio V site of the archaeological park, which is not yet open to the public, and unveiled on Saturday.
Traces of food nearly 2,000 years old were found in some of the deep earthenware jars containing hot food that the trader lowered into a counter with circular holes.
The front of the counter was decorated with brightly colored frescoes, some of animals being part of the ingredients of the food sold, such as a chicken and two ducks hanging upside down.
“This is an extraordinary find. This 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 pots used for cooking stews and soups, wine flasks and amphorae.
Pompeii, 23 km (14 miles) southeast of Naples, was home to around 13,000 people when it was buried under ash, pumice pebbles and dust as it was subjected to the force of a eruption equivalent to many atomic bombs.
“Our preliminary analyzes show that the numbers drawn on the front of the counter represent, at least in part, the food and drinks sold there,” said Valeria Amoretti, the site’s anthropologist.
Amoretti said traces of pork, fish, snails and beef were found in the containers, a discovery she called “testimony to the wide variety of animal products used to prepare the dishes. “.
About two-thirds of the ancient 66-hectare (165-acre) city has been discovered. The ruins were not discovered until the 16th century and organized excavations began around 1750.
A rare documentation of Greco-Roman life, Pompeii is one of Italy’s most popular attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.