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2,000-Year-Old Shrine with Blue-Painted Walls Unearthed at Pompeii

by News7

Archaeologists in Italy have unearthed a so-called sacrarium at Pompeii, an ancient Roman city frozen in time after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE.

The 2,000-year-old sacrarium found at Pompeii, Italy. Image credit: Parco Archeologico di Pompei.

The newly-discovered sacrarium — an ancient shrine devoted to ritual activities and the storage of sacred objects — is about 8 m2 in size.

The room was unearthed by in the central area of Pompeii by Dr. Gabriel Zuchtriegel from the Parco Archeologico di Pompei and colleagues.

“Against the blue background of the walls, female figures are depicted to the sides of the niches in the center,” the archaeologists said in a statement.

“In the lateral niches, the figures represent the Horae, the four seasons, while the figures in the central panel are allegories of agriculture and sheep-farming, as indicated by the attributes of the plough and the pedum, a short staff used by shepherds and hunters.”

“The color blue found in this room rarely occurs in Pompeian frescoes and was generally used for elaborately decorated rooms.”

The researchers found 15 transport amphorae and a set of bronze objects (two jugs and two lamps) in the sacrarium.

They also unearthed piles of ancient building materials ready to be used in the renovation work.

“A heap of empty oyster shells was found by the threshold. The shells were probably finely ground to add to plaster and mortar,” the scientists said.

“The room came to light among the structures situated in the southern part of the block (insula) which belonged to a secondary district of a large domus,” they added.

“The structures that have emerged include bath buildings which are still being excavated and a large black frescoed reception room overlooking a courtyard with a staircase leading up to the first floor of the complex.”

“The excavations are part of a broader project designed to shore up the perimeter between the excavated and unexcavated areas and to improve the hydrogeological structure in order to make safeguarding the vast heritage of Pompeii (over 13,000 rooms in 1,070 residential units, as well as public and sacred areas) more effective and sustainable.”

The team’s paper was published in the E-Journal Scavi di Pompei.

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Gabriel Zuchtriegel et al. L’età della nostalgia: il sacrario nella Regio IX, insula 10 di Pompei. E-Journal Scavi di Pompei, published online June 03, 2024

Source : Breaking Science News

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