Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Pompeii Street Food

Snacks included pork, fish, snails, beef
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2020 9:00 AM CST
Archaeologists Uncover 2,000- Year-Old Pompeii Street Food
An undated photo shows a termopolium in the Pompeii archeological park.   (Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico di Pompei via AP)

Archaeologists continue to unearth new findings in the long-buried city of Pompeii and their latest discovery reveals how the doomed ancients liked to snack. Per CNN, an extraordinarily well-preserved hot food and drinks counter called a termopolium has been unearthed in the city, which was buried by an infamous volcanic eruption in 79 AD. Inside terra cotta vessels kept warm in the streetside stall, researchers found traces of pork, fish, snails and beef in what may have been a kind of ancient paella. According to the Guardian, termopoliums were very popular in ancient Rome and researchers believe Pompeii, a city of 13,000 before it was destroyed by the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, had about 80 of the stalls.

However, Pompeii archaeological park director Massimo Ossana told CNN this is the first time they've managed to excavate an entire termopolium. Photos from the site show the brilliantly preserved frescoes that adorned the stall to tempt passersby with images of the food on offer, including chickens and ducks. Ossana told Italian news agency Ansa that human remains were also found near the counter, including one of a man in his 50s who may have stayed behind during the cataclysm and died where he worked. Researchers also speculate that another person found nearby may have been a thief hoping to snag a bite to eat during the fray. A water tower and fountain were also discovered at the site, part of an ongoing dig that began around 1750 and even today remains just two-thirds complete. (Read more Pompeii stories.)

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