Archaeologists Excavate Ancient Fast Food Bar in Pompeii

Complete with hand-painted frescoes.

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A team of archaeologists has excavated an ancient fast food snack bar or “thermopolium” in Pompeii’s Regio V site. The thermopolium is extraordinarily preserved, featuring hand-painted frescoes of still lifes across its exterior. One of the standout works observed on the bar is a painting of a Nereid riding a sea-horse which was partially unearthed back in 2019, as per designboom.

“As well as being another insight into daily life at Pompeii, the possibilities for the study of this thermopolium are exceptional, because for the first time an area of this type has been excavated in its entirety, and it has been possible to carry out all the analyses that today’s technology permits,” said Massimo Osanna, interim director general of Parco Archeologico di Pompeii, in a statement.

Various pantry and transport tools such as nine amphorae, a bronze patera, two flasks, and a traditional ceramic table olla were also found in the excavation of the ancient bar. The archaeologists also discovered food residues on the counter and animal bones around it.

“The materials which have been discovered have indeed been excavated and studied from all points of view by an interdisciplinary team composed of professionals in the fields of physical anthropology, archaeology, archaeobotany, archaeozoology, geology, and vulcanology,” Osanna added. “The finds will be further analyzed in the laboratory, and in particular those remains found in the dolia (terracotta containers) of the counter are expected to yield exceptional data for informing an understanding of what was sold and what the diet was like.”

Get a closer look at the thermopolium discovery in the video below. Elsewhere, check out Lucien Smith’s new Beast of Burden paintings.

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