Pompeii unearths slave chamber intact

Disovery sheds light on the living conditions of Pompeii slaves.

A slave's quarters has re-emerged intact during excavations at the suburban villa of Civita Giuliana to the north of Pompeii, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The discovery has been described as "exceptional" by Pompeii director Gabriel Zuchtriegel who said it shines a "very rare" light on the lives of those at the lowest end of Pompeii society.

The simple furnishings of the small quarters with its bare walls are a world away from the luxury associated with the frescoed rooms of the rich.

Here we find three beds - one evidently for a child - made from wood and rope, with traces of the fabric coverings and even a chamber pot next to a bed.

The rest of the cramped space contains tools, a horse's harness, a small jug, vases and large amphorae, providing a snapshot of how the poorest lived.

Studies will be carried out to see what the amphorae contained, ANSA reports, while above the small window a lamp was hung. "It probably served to amplify the glow produced by the fire", said Zuchtriegel.

The chamber survived intact as the portico held up against the volcanic ash and pumice that buried the area after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

The only damage to the room was the pickaxe holes made by the recent illegal actions of tombaroli, or tomb raiders, who now face criminal proceedings.

Zuchriegel told ANSA that the goal is to eventually open the little room to the public.

For full details of the discovery see Pompeii Sites website. All photos Pompeii Sites-Twitter.