Archaeologists have unearthed a well preserved ancient “slave room” inside of the Villa of Civita Giuliana in Pompeii, Italy. This room was in use when the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius occurred back in 79 AD.
It is believed that a small family of servants or slaves inhabited the room during ancient times. Inside of the 16-square-meter room (172 square feet), which appeared to be a bedroom, there were two adult-size beds measuring 1.7 meters in length (5.6 feet) and one smaller one that was 1.4 meters long (4.6 feet) that was probably slept in by a child. The beds were made of numerous wooden planks with a base made of rope webbed together and blankets were put on top. There was only one small window high up in the room so that some light could enter.
In addition to the three beds, a wooden chest and eight amphorae where also found in the room. There were no decorations on the wall with the exception of a mark where a lantern was believed to have been hung.
Interestingly, the room was found at the same location that a chariot was uncovered earlier this year. With that being said, it is believed that the slaves were the ones who prepared and maintained the chariot. Furthermore, a chariot shaft was located on one of the beds in addition to fabric and metal objects that were found in the wooden chest that appeared to have been harness parts.
Gabriel Zuchtriegel, who is the general director of Pompeii's archaeological site, described the significance of the discovery, “This is an exceptional insight into the life and daily work of a part of the ancient population that is little known from official sources, which are almost always from the point of view of the elites,” adding, “In this case, we are seeing the life of slaves, servants: people of a very low social status.”
Pictures of the room can be viewed here.
This news comes almost a year after it was reported that the skeletal remains of two men – believed to have been a wealthy landowner between the ages of 30 and 40 along with his slave who was between 18 and 25 years of age – were found in the ashes of Pompeii. It is believed that the two men were attempting to escape the deadly eruption when they died.