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An ancient 'fast food' counter from Pompeii will soon be open to the public

While visitors will not be able to actually grab a bite at the food counter, they will be able to learn about what residents of the ancient city ate.

An ancient 'fast food' counter from Pompeii will soon be open to the public
Image Source: pompeiisites.org

Archaeologists recently unearthed an ancient "fast food" counter in the Roman city of Pompeii. The city, as many will know, was destroyed when a volcano erupted almost 2,000 years ago, engulfing the entire settlement. The fast food counter will soon be open to the public in the upcoming year, BBC News reports. However, food will not be served, much to the dismay of many history enthusiasts. Instead, visitors will be able to visit the counter and learn more about the kinds of food the city-dwellers munched on in AD79, before the catastrophic volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius.

 



 

The fast food counter is known as a thermopolium, that is, a cook-shop. The word thermopolium literally translates to a "place where something hot is sold." Experts believe that the counter would have served hot food as well as drinks to the locals in the city of Pompeii, much like a fast food stall would in the present day. The shop was initially discovered in 2019 but unveiled to the public on Saturday. Bright frescoes and terracotta jars line the fast food counter, preserved in time by the volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Traces of pork, fish, snails, and beef were discovered in the jars.

 



 

Therefore, archaeologists believe those could have been some of the offerings in store for customers, in addition to chicken and duck. This is because the frescoes depict a chicken as well as two ducks. According to Massimo Ossana, the director of the Pompeii archaeological park, the discovery of the thermopolium was an "extraordinary" one. He affirmed, "It's the first time we are excavating an entire thermopolium." The findings will soon be analyzed by an interdisciplinary team of professionals in the fields of physical anthropology, archaeology, archaeobotany, archaeozoology, geology, and vulcanology. Ossana believes the food counter will reveal important details about what was sold during the period and what the diets of local Pompeii residents were like.

 



 

For several years now, Pompeii has been a rich archaeological site for experts as the thick layer of ash from the volcanic eruption preserved much of the city and the outlines of many of its residents. Dario Franceschini, Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, noted, "As a result of teamwork, which required a legislative framework and professional staff, Pompeii today serves as a model of heritage protection and management, and is once more one of the most visited sites in Italy, where research is carried out, excavation continues, and extraordinary discoveries like these are made."

 



 

At present, the archaeological site is closed to the public owing to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The park lies approximately 23 kilometers, which is about 14 miles, to the south-east of Naples, and is expected to reopen just in time for Easter, which falls on April 4 in the year 2021. Though archaeologists have been digging around the site for dozens of years now, around a third of the ancient city is yet to be uncovered. Experts continue to make interesting discoveries as they search on. Just last month, archaeologists dug up the remains of two men. These men are believed to be a citizen of high status and his slave. Both men were killed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

 



 

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