Archaeologists have recently found a 2,000-year-old fast food stall in Pompeii, Italy. This food stall, known in Roman culture as the “Thermopolium,” is where Pompeii passers-by could buy street food. The Thermopolium, which literally consists of two parts, Thermos meaning hot and Poleo meaning “for sale”, was very popular in the Roman world, and archaeologists had already found about eighty other similar sites in the same city.
Pompeii is a city with rare findings from Greco-Roman life that surprises people with its discoveries every time and is now the second most visited site in Italy after the Colosseum, which was also registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List and last year about one It attracted millions of tourists.
What makes this thermopolium unique is that it is the first time such a place has been completely excavated and explored.
Archaeologists have described the site as “a complex environment” that “will give us information not previously found in Pompeii”.
Discovering such a place in its entirety, in addition to shedding light on how people live their daily lives in Pompeii, could also provide researchers with clues about the eating habits of the people about two thousand years ago.
In the food items found in large pottery, signs of snails, fish, goats, pigs, ducks, etc. can be seen, which were part of the diet of the people of the region.
This food stall, in addition to showing the type of food of the inhabitants of the city, is also very important in terms of the high quality of decorations in Pompeii. In the front counter of the thermopolium we can see murals with various motifs, such as a rooster, two ducks that are drawn and ready to cook, a dog, and a nerid (mermaid in Greek mythology) riding a seahorse.
“Preliminary studies show that the pictures taken on the counter are food and drinks served at this place,” said Valeria Amorti, an anthropologist at the Pompeii area.
In a number of earthenware vessels, combinations of pig and fish bones can also be seen. According to archaeologists, excavations should be continued in this area in order to accurately identify the contents of these vessels.
Another interesting finding of this thermopolium is the finding of a rat’s bones inside a pottery vessel, which may indicate the presence of foodstuffs such as barley and other legumes in the container.
But in this place, we do not come across only food findings and it is not only its decorations that matter. Rather, the remains of two humans have been discovered in this area. According to studies, the age of one of them can be estimated at about fifty years.
During the past unauthorized excavations and activities of people who were looking for expensive objects, the skeletons have been moved and manipulated in some cases and have not remained intact.
Archaeologists acknowledge that in the future, further excavations and experiments on the material will reveal the eating habits of the Pompeii people and the type of food served at the thermopolis. “The site is” an amazing testament to the Mediterranean diet, “he said, according to the site’s excavator.
Excavations in Pompeii began in the 18th century in 1748. About two-thirds of the Pompeii site has been excavated so far, and archaeologists and historians have been able to gather and infer a great deal of information about the site’s inhabitants, such as their way of life, the type and style of clothing of their people, and their eating habits.
But one of the strengths of recent excavations in this city is the use of new technologies by archaeologists and anthropologists, which leads to the study of the found materials from all directions and various analyzes on them. Also, these discoveries have been studied by following researchers with different specializations in fields such as botany, archeology, zoology, anthropology, volcanology, etc.
Pompeii is located 23 km southeast of the Italian city of Naples and had a population of about 13,000 until about two thousand years ago, in 79 AD, with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, human life ended there and the city is a layer of Lava and ashes were buried.
Of course, it was these ashes that eventually kept many of Pompeii’s findings intact, making it a rich source for archaeological studies.
This year, it was not possible to visit the site due to the outbreak of the Corona virus. But archeological excavations continued in accordance with health protocols, and archaeologists hope to complete the thermopolium excavation by March and be able to reopen the site to the public by Easter.