Archaeologists working at an ancient Roman villa buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 announced last week that they have discovered a slave room of that villa, remarkably well preserved. The room is close to another fascinating recent discovery: an ornate chariot. The archaeologists believe the room housed the slaves charged with maintaining and preparing that chariot.
The living spaces of slaves are usually lost to historical inquiry in short order, because of course only the palaces of the wealthy were built to be imperishable. A peek into such a space for slaves living near old Pompeii nearly twenty centuries ago is, then, a rare find. The head of the project called this discovery “one of the most exciting discoveries in my life as an archaeologist.”
Strange New Worlds:
The finding is of a small room (170 square feet) with three beds, a ceramic pot, and a wooden chest. One of the beds appears intended for a child. The two larger beds are 1.7 meters long (about 5′ 7″). There are also eight amphorae (ceramic vases used for storage). It appears, then, that the room did double duty. as a storage locker as well as a living quarters.