Newly discovered Finds in Pompeii

Discover the surprises unearthed by the archaeologists poking around the ancient city of Pompeii!

Regarded as the biggest permanent archaeological site in the entire world, Pompeii’s secrets keep on unearthing. Every year new discoveries are uncovered, with each telling a story about this ancient civilisation and the type of people living within it. Surprises revealed recently include brilliantly preserved frescos, both human and animal remains, and technological artefacts. These recent discoveries showcase how important this remaining city is, as it gives us an inexhaustible source of research and knowledge of this past civilisation.

  • An Ancient Drainage System

    The most recent and exciting discovery of Pompeii is a 1,500-foot-long network of tunnels found underneath the city from Via Marina to the Imperial Villa. They are said to be built in three phases, which date back as far as the 3rd century BC by the Samnites who once inhabited the region. After the Romans took over the land, they updated the tunnels and despite being built almost 2,300 years ago and being untouched for a millennium they are still in working order. These complex tunnels showcase the excellent engineering skills these past civilisations had, with the entire system made to allow excess rainwater to drain out of the ancient city towards the ocean.

  • The Enchanted Garden

    Dubbed the ‘Enchanted Garden’, this recent discovery is a completely intact ancient lararium, also known as a shrine. Featuring a 16-by-12-foot room with multiple frescoes, an altar, a garden, a small pool, and would have been partially covered by a tile roof. Although the majority of the homes in Pompeii had these shrines, this one, in particular, has a fairly complex decoration. The discovery was found north of the city and is said to be the biggest so far found in the ancient city. The real spectacle of this lararium is the brilliantly preserved frescos. Which feature two serpents who are said to be ‘good daemons’ that symbolizing prosperity and good luck. A wild boar fighting unidentified creatures against a bright red backdrop, and even a colourful peacock. The most mysterious figure in the fresco is a man with the head of a dog, which is speculated to have been inspired by the Egyptian god Anubis, who was the God of the dead.

  • Leda and the Swan

    For two thousand years, her gaze has been obscured, but Leda and the Swan fresco has finally been rediscovered by archaeologists. Frescos were a common decoration for the ancient people of Pompeii, seen in both private and public walls, depicting a number of mythology stories, significance figures, and memorial displays. This Leda and the swan fresco is inspired from a classical mythology tale of the Spartan Queen Leda, who was impregnated by the god Zeus. Zeus tricked the married Leda by disguising himself as a swan and seduced (although some say raped) Leda. She soon fell pregnant and hatched two eggs, which bore four children-with two each belonging to Zeus and Leda’s husband. Although the story is quite strange, the mythology was a common illustration in Pompeii, but many archaeologists have noted this particular’s fresco uniqueness. First, Leda is sitting in the fresco, which was unusual for this story as most showcase her standing. Second, the illustration shows Leda and the swan mid-act, which contrasts to the other illustrations which only show the lead-up or the aftermath. Lastly, Leda’s eye direction is looking straight at the viewer, compared to figures typically looking to the side. All these peculiar changes in Leda’s previously depicted appearances is said to showcase a message of sensuality.

  • A Sorceress’ Kit

    A large box of trinkets has been discovered in one of Pompeii’s Garden Houses. Said to be once used to perform fertility and love rituals, as well as look for omens about birth and pregnancy. The entire kit is said to contain 100 small objects, ranging from bones shaped into buttons, miniature penises, many crystals, and even a couple tiny skulls and dolls. The objects are said to each have their own meaning, but mainly were used for fortune-telling and to bring good luck. Archaeologists say these objects were apart of the everyday life of the females in Pompeii, with each telling mini-stories of these ancient inhabitants.

  • A Gladiator Fresco

    Another fantastic discovery by the archaeologists recently is what may have been an ancient Roman drinking den. Within this drinking, den is said to be a large fresco depicting gladiators in action, complete with gory wounds. The fresco decorated this specific place as it was frequently used by gladiators as well as prostitutes, with the bloody painting showcasing the fighter’s natural strength. The realistic representation of the wounds is starling accurate to past researchers’, in most particular the gladiator holding up his finger to “implore for mercy,” which was a common occurrence in past fights.

  • Graffiti

    For centuries, historians have believed that the destruction of this once-thriving ancient city was in August 79 AD. Based on the letter from the Roman writer Pliny the Younger who witness the disaster. His letter stated “nonum kal Septembres,” which translates to nine days before the start of September, otherwise known as August 24. However, a recently discovered graffiti message in Pompeii has changed this theory. The message was written on a wall of a house, stating ‘XVI K Nov in ulsit pro masumis esurit’ which translates to the individual writing it had overindulged in food. However, the date marked on the graffiti states October 17. This could mean any year before 79 A.D, but what makes the archaeological team investigating this think it adds to evidence that it was autumn when the volcano erupted is due to the message being in charcoal. Being fragile and evanescent, the charcoal message could not last long over time, making researchers believe the graffiti was done a week before the great catastrophe that, making the date of the eruption changed to the 24th of  October 79A.D.

Related article: Top Things to do in Pompeii