Pork, goat, fish and beans to go? The ancient Romans ate hot food jogging the same way New Yorkers do.
Photos of a recently discovered and beautifully decorated street food cart in Pompeii reveal what the Romans could have enjoyed from fast food before the ancient city was destroyed in a volcano eruption nearly 2,000 years ago.
On Saturday, Massimo Osana said the startling discovery marked the first time that a hot food and drink restaurant – known as Thermopolium – has been excavated in Pompeii, the longtime head of Pompeii Archaeological Park.
Part of the street selling bench was excavated last year as part of the effort to shore up the dilapidated ancient city ruins. As digging continued, archaeologists discovered a multi-sided counter with wide holes containing deep bowls for hot food inserted at the top, in contrast to the modern salad bars setting.
The counter is decorated with images of an undersea mermaid on a horse’s back, two upside down ducks and a rooster, and a leash dog. The interior of the painting frame was vandalized by vulgar graffiti.
Anthropologists say that the images of ducks and chickens represent what was on the menu that day. A portion of duck bone was found in one of the containers along with the remains of goats, pigs, fish and snails. It was a wine container containing traces of ground bean grains, which were added to ancient grapes for flavor and coloring, according to Pompeii anthropologist Valeria Amoretti.
“We know what they were eating that day,” Osana said. Osana said that the leftovers show “what is popular with the common people,” noting that the Romanian elite did not frequent street food.
Workers also discovered a bronze ladle, nine amphorae, which were common food containers in Roman times, two pairs of flasks, a ceramic oil bowl, and the entire skeleton of a dog.
The dog’s skeleton surprised archaeologists due to its tiny stature, from 8 to 10 inches. Amoretti said that a discovery “attests to selective breeding in the Roman era to obtain this result.”
As any New York street vendor worthy of salt knows: location is everything. Scientists noticed that this restaurant looked good, right next to a small square with a fountain.
Pompeii was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79
With AP wires