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Lucky day, lucky find at Pompeii

How old? A new find at Pompei

An ancient pot, newly discovered under the pumice at Pompeii.

I had almost decided that the place was boring. Perhaps I've seen my fill of ancient cities. Sure, this one gave you a good idea of the street layout but there was really nothing spectacular.

There was the bath house, some columns representing an old temple, mosaics, and a bakery. I saw some ancient plumbing made out of short, baked clay pipes. There was a small peaceful garden behind one of the houses where you could sit awhile and imagine ancient life.

But nothing really spectacular. They say that the city was largely populated by retired soldiers. When you really think about it, today it would be a low to middle class suburb - functional, but nothing spectacular.


It wasn't the first time that a calamity had struck this place.

And most of what was found here has been taken off to adorn museums. Well, I guess if it was left here there would be the chance of it being lost again under another eruption.

Well, that's what made the place famous - the Mt Vesuvius eruption of 79AD. Actually, maybe it was the eventual rediscovery that made the place famous. Pompeii was destroyed in an instant under a storm of burning fragments of pumice stone. The town had about 20,000 inhabitants and about 2000 are thought to have died.

It wasn't the first time that trouble had hit this place. A few years earlier, in 63AD, there was an earthquake that caused much devastation. But Pompeii had been rebuilt and it was a peaceful retired life the day before the pumice stone rain.

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And then the commotion broke out.

An ancient find at PompeiI raced up the narrow cobble stoned path between the still standing walls. The shouts were coming from a pile of rubble. And then he emerged, clutching the pot and wearing a yellow helmet and a big smile.

"We don't find much around here anymore, so when we do, there is plenty of excitement" he said. "OK, picture time" said his colleague, and he posed with his find.

They had been digging in a collapsed kitchen. From what they could work out, the kitchen above had fallen into the cellar below. And this was a good find. The ancient pot contained remnants of food, so that just added to the kudos.

It wasn't gold or silver. It wasn't ancient bones or a tablet letter from Pliny the Younger. But it was another piece of the puzzle - a bit more knowledge about ancient life. Now, why is that important?

Photos from Pompeii

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