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Pompeii discoveries shed light on middle class life

MILAN — Archaeologists have discovered four new rooms in a house in Pompeii filled with plates, amphoras and other everyday objects, giving a snapshot of middle-class life at the moment Mount Vesuvius’ eruption buried the Roman city in AD 79.

The remains of bowls, a hastily emptied trunk, a bed and a crib-shaped terra-cotta perfume burner were found on two floors of a previously-excavated building, the Pompeii archaeological park authority said on Saturday.

Some were more valuable than others — vessels made of bronze or glass next to everyday tools.

“A large slice of the population in the Roman Empire were people who sweated for their daily bread but were also anxious to raise their social status,” the park’s director, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, said.

Archaeologists took plaster casts to reproduce some of the objects from the site in Pompeii, one of Italy’s main tourist attractions near the modern city of Naples.

The rest of the structure, excavated in 2018, includes a courtyard decorated in frescoes of plants, birds and hunting scenes. A niche hosting the household guardian gods, or Lares, gave the “Larario house” its popular name.

“The owners of the Larario house in Pompeii had been able to decorate the courtyard hosting the Lares site and a well with outstanding paintings, but evidently they didn’t have enough money for all of the rooms,” Zuchtriegel added.

“We don’t know who lived here but the pleasurable life depicted in the courtyard was probably more of an aspiration than their everyday reality.” — Reuters