Archeologists just found 2,000-year-old fast food beneath a volcano5 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
2,000 years ago, around 79AD, Pompeii stopped. Mt. Vesuvius, a massive volcanic mountain near the city, erupted and covered Pompeii its people in hot volcanic ash. Everything and everyone was instantly lifeless. But, thanks to the lapilli or hot ash and rock that engulfed the city, it was preserved forever.
Before its untimely demise, Pompeii was a bustling Roman city at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. It was a cultural hub that bubbled with political and social activities. Although its ruins were discovered a few hundred years ago, a lot of the city is yet to be uncovered and discovered. With every new discovery, Pompeii remains a marvel.
Since its reintroduction, Pompeii has been well preserved. It is very popular with scholars and tourists alike who flock there in the thousands. Over the years, we have discovered vistas, halls, temples, art, and the bodies of all kinds of people and animals, among a myriad of other relics. Most recently, archeologists made one of the most significant discoveries that they have made in a while.
Over the years, among the fragments of discoveries, archeologists have found over 80 snack bars. These snack bars known as thermopoliums are a distinct and unique feature of Pompeii. Archeologists have likened them to fast food joints like today’s McDonald’s and Burger King.
Thermopolium translates to a “place where hot is sold.” It is where working-class locals who didn’t have kitchens would go to get hot soup and food. In fact, archeologists even suggest that these cheaper joints were probably looked down upon by the wealthier people of Pompeii.
Even though several have been found, this is the first time that a thermopolium was almost completely uncovered. Moreover, with modern technology, there is so much more that we can learn from our findings.
Steaming hot, mouth-watering delicacies
The exterior of the thermopolium was resplendent with intricate paintings. It even had paintings of ducks and chickens that experts deem to be much like a modern menu. Archeologists are quite certain that these were some of the items items were sold at the snack bar. Other than that they found jars and containers with remains of beef, fish, snails, and sheep. It was most likely that the thermopoliums served a mix of all these meats. Just imagine a mouth-watering warm soup filled with meat after a long day at work. In fact, much like fast-food, most of the food was composed of quick eats that could be eaten on the go.
Some things never change
Even though their menu is very different from anything we eat today, a lot of what was found in and around the thermopolium is not unfamiliar. Archeologists found a large pot that was once filled with wine. They have claimed that once they cleared the large pot, or dolium, of the surrounding lapilli, they could smell the wine through their masks! There were even several remains and skeletons of people hovering around the eatery, suggesting an environment not very different from our own hawkers and fast food joints.
Owliver’s Obscure Observation: Take a look at this picture of a dog on a leash painted on the walls of the eatery. This probably was a sign for the ancient roman customers to keep their dogs tethered while they eat! Well, if one thing is both universal and timeless, it is our love for our pet dogs.