April 18, 2024

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Photo of a pizza-like food found in the ruins of Pompeii

Pizza without mozzarella and tomatoes may not sound like pizza to Neapolitans, but a new discovery by archaeologists working among the ruins of Pompeii could offer a glimpse into an ancient version of the much-loved modern dish.

A mural on the wall of a house in the ruined Roman city shows a silver tray with foodstuffs including focaccia flatbread, fruit and a glass of red wine on a black background. The still life dates back nearly 2,000 years and “could be a distant ancestor” of pizza, said the Pompeii Archaeological Park in statementAdding that it is missing some of the classic ingredients of the dish.

The discovery was made in the atrium of a house connected to a bakery. The structure was partially explored in the nineteenth century. Excavations resumed in January.

The ancient house of Pompeii shows what life was like before the eruption

The city on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius was destroyed after a catastrophic volcanic eruption in AD 79. The disaster, which came with minimal warning, buried the rich Roman enclave under sand and ash, materials that prevented the site from deteriorating and made restoration possible.

UNESCO World Heritage site It is popular with tourists, who can wander the primitive streets, amid temples and amphitheatres that provide a rare insight into daily life in ancient urban Roman settlements.

Previous finds at the site revealed intact skeletal remains of horses, a street lined with large terraced houses, and a tomb with the remains of an adult male, among others.

The director of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, Gabriel Zuchtregel, identified the fresco as being from the Greek or Hellenistic tradition. In the statement, he said the image combines a simple pastoral meal with the luxury of silver china.

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“In considering this, how can we not think of pizza, which was also born as a ‘poor’ dish in southern Italy that has now conquered the world and is served in Michelin-starred restaurants,” he said.

The bread appears to have been seasoned with spices or some kind of pesto, as the archaeologists have deduced from the yellow and ocher dots on the image. The tray also contains dried fruits besides pomegranate and dates.

Pompeii lies less than 20 miles from modern-day Naples, whose pizza-making tradition has earned it a status on UNESCO headquarters. intangible cultural heritage List in 2017. The pizza makers’ culinary practice includes preparing and rolling dough in an intricate cycle before baking it in a wood-fired oven.