Slaves locked up with blindfolded donkeys: in the ancient city of Pompeii (near Naples, Italy), destroyed in the year 79 by the eruption of Vesuvius, archaeologists discovered during excavations in a house “a narrow room with no view outside, with small windows with iron bars that let in the light“This site announced in a press release on Saturday.
The house, which is currently being renovated, was “divided – as is the case – into a villa district decorated with refined frescoes and a production area dedicated to the production of bread“, adds the press release. In one of the rooms of the bakery, three skeletons were already found in the past months, confirming that the house was inhabited.
Slaves to make bread
Archaeologists concluded that they had discovered “a prison bakery where slaves and donkeys were confined and used to grind the grain needed to make bread“. The research also revealed the presence of “carvings on the ground to coordinate the movement of the animals, forced to turn around for hours while blindfolded“.
“We have to imagine the presence of people in the position of serfs, whose master felt the need to limit their freedom of movement“, Pompeii website director Gabriel Zuchtriegel emphasized in a scientific article.
“This is the most shocking aspect of ancient slavery, lacking the relationship of trust and the promise of freedom, where man was reduced to brutal violence, an impression fully confirmed by the security of the windows with iron bars.”
Volcanic ash spewed by Mount Vesuvius 2,000 years ago settled on most of the houses in Pompeii, allowing them to be almost completely preserved, as well as many of the bodies of the 3,000 dead caused by the disaster. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pompeii is the second most visited tourist destination in Italy after the Colosseum in Rome.