in Pompeii, a “bakery-prison” unearthed

Markings on the ground of the “prison bakery” of Pompeii, in a photo released by the archaeological site, December 8, 2023.

Locked up slaves, blindfolded donkeys in a confined space: archaeologists have unearthed a “prison bakery” in the ancient city of Pompeii, the archaeological site announced in a communicated published Friday December 8. These excavations carried out in a house made it possible to discover “a narrow room with no outside view, with small windows with iron bars to let in light.”

Archaeologists concluded that there was a “prison bakery, where slaves and donkeys were locked up and exploited to grind the grain necessary for the production of bread”. The research also revealed the presence of “engravings on the ground to coordinate the movement of the animals, forced to turn for hours blindfolded”.

The house was “divided – as is often the case – into a residential area decorated with refined frescoes and a production area intended for bread making”adds the press release.

“Brutal violence”

Aerial view of the Pompeii prison bakery, broadcast by the archaeological site, December 8, 2023.

In one of the rooms of the bakery, three skeletons had already been found in recent months, confirming that the site was inhabited.

“We must imagine the presence of people with servile status whose owner felt the need to restrict their freedom of movement”underlined the director of the Pompeii site, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, in a scientific article published by the archaeological site.

“This is the most shocking aspect of ancient slavery, that lacking both relationships of trust and promises of freedom”, adds Mr. Zuchtriegel, evoking an impression of “brutal violence”, “confirmed by securing the windows with iron bars”.

The volcanic ash spewed in the year 79 by the erupting Vesuvius sedimented on most of the homes of Pompeii, which allowed them to be almost completely preserved, as were many bodies among the thousands of victims of the catastrophe.

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The World with AFP

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