The millenary ancestor of pizza

Sometimes in archaeological ruins one finds unexpected secrets. And what was found in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii is giving a lot to talk about. This city suffered the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius in the year 79. And checking its ruins, the millenary ancestor of today’s pizza appeared. It was painted on a fresco.

The photo was released Tuesday by the administration of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. It shows a round, flat cake with pomegranate and dates, seasoned with spices. The cake along with other fruits is on a silver tray. Next to it is a silver cup filled with wine.

The thousand-year-old ancestor of pizza appeared on a newly discovered wall.
The millennia-old ancestor of pizza appeared on a newly discovered wall.

New discoveries

“These images are known under the name of xenia (gifts of hospitality). They were widely spread in antiquity. The tradition has its roots in the Hellenistic period (3rd to 1st centuries BC). Frescoes like this one are sometimes found in the archaeological area of Pompeii and Herculaneum”. This was explained by the director of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, Gabriel Zuchtriegel.

The fresco was found in the atrium of a house, with attached bakery. Excavations in that area first began between 1888 and 1891, but were then suspended for more than a century. Archaeologists returned to that part of the ancient city only in January 2023. And they immediately made several interesting discoveries.

In spring they found something in the House of Chaste Lovers, located near the first one. They were the skeletons of two people in good condition, killed during the eruption of Vesuvius. According to scientists, their death was caused by the earthquake that accompanied the eruption. Their mortal remains were under the rubble of an insula (multi-story collective dwelling).

The history of this dish seems to have a very ancient tradition.
The history of this dish seems to have a very ancient tradition.

Treasures and treasures

Italy’s Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, commented on the new archaeological find. He compared that unique object to an “ark, from which new treasures always emanate”. He said it “never ceases to amaze”. The millenary ancestor of the pizza will not be the last amazing find.

Pompeii is included by Unesco on the World Heritage list. It represents in itself a unique open-air museum. Excavations resumed in the area of about 3,200 square meters. It is almost an entire district of the ancient city still under the ashes of Vesuvius.

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