Pompeii is the second most visited tourist destination in Italy after the Colosseum in Rome.


Archaeologists excavating the ancient Roman city of Pompeii have discovered a “prison bakery” where blindfolded slaves and donkeys were locked underground to grind grain for bread, officials said this week.

Under a house in the ruins, they found “a narrow room with no view of the outside world and with small windows high in the wall, with iron bars to let in the light,” the Pompeii Archaeological Park said Friday.

Archaeologists concluded they had found a “prison bakery,” according to the website of the UNESCO World Heritage site near Naples in southern Italy.

They also discovered “indentations” in the ground “to coordinate the movement of the animals, who were forced to walk around blindfolded for hours.”

The house on the 44-acre site, which is currently being excavated, has been divided into a living area “decorated with exquisite Fourth Style frescoes” and a “productive quarter,” the bakery.

Three skeletons were discovered in a room of the bakery, suggesting that the house was inhabited.

The bakery, where slaves and animals were forced to do the arduous work of turning the millstones, had no doors and no communication with the outside world.

“Shocking” side of antiquity

“It is, in other words, a space in which we must imagine the presence of people of subservient status whose freedom of movement the owner wanted to restrict,” Pompeii director Gabrielzuchtreigel wrote in an academic article.

“It is the most shocking side of ancient slavery, the one that contained neither trusting relationships nor promises of release, and in which we were forced to resort to brutal force, an impression fully confirmed by the securing of the few windows with iron bars.”

The public can see further evidence of this harsh everyday life in an exhibition called “The Other Pompeii: Ordinary Lives in the Shadow of Vesuvius,” opening on December 15 at the Palestra Grande in Pompeii.

“(The exhibition is) dedicated to the countless individuals who are often forgotten in the historical sources, such as the slaves, who made up the majority of the population and whose work made important contributions not only to the economy but also to culture.” and social fabric of Roman civilization,” Pompeii authorities said.

Pompeii was devastated when nearby Vesuvius erupted nearly 2,000 years ago in AD 79.

The ash and rock helped preserve many buildings in near-original condition and formed eerie shapes around the curled bodies of the disaster’s victims, estimated to number around 3,000.

Pompeii is the second most visited tourist destination in Italy after the Colosseum in Rome.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Source : www.ndtv.com

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