A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Pompeii Bakery Yields Evidence of Enslaved Workers
Monday, December 11, 2023
ROME, ITALY—The Guardian reports that a small bakery equipped with windows blocked by iron bars has been uncovered in the Regio IX area of Pompeii. The remains of three people have been recovered from the structure, which may have been undergoing renovations when it was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Markings on the floor of the bakery are thought to have directed the movement of enslaved workers and animals that were likely blindfolded while grinding grain and baking bread in the space. The bakery’s only exit led to the main hall of the luxurious residential section of the structure. “It is, in other words, a space in which we have to imagine the presence of people of servile status whose freedom of movement the owner felt the need to restrict,” concluded Gabriel Zuchtriegel, director of Pompeii Archaeological Park. To read more about Pompeii's bakeries, go to "Digging Deeper into Pompeii's Past: Industry."
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