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In an excavation conducted by the University of Cincinnati to investigate the ancient city of Pompeii, a wide variety of imported and very expensive foods have been found, the giraffe leg being the most prominent.
During the study, use has been made of the archives of the excavations of the 19th and 20th centuries, which has facilitated the research work. But undoubtedly the greatest amount of information it has been offered by the kitchen utensils found, as well as some mineralized excrement, which will expose the diet of the middle and lower classes who frequented and lived in the area.
Next to Big Theater you can see the triangular forum, the covered theater and the Quadroporticus (probably an outdoor gym), in addition to the time of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79, which led to the extinction of the city, the area had 10 plots and 20 stores. All of these businesses were in the heart of the city's entertainment district, a bustling and hospitable area with a lot of foot traffic at Porta Stabia, ancient gate of Pompeii.
In fact, the excavations uncovered evidence of very old buildings in the center of Insula VIII dating back to the 4th century BC, when they appear to have been dedicated to industrial use. This was the small-scale matter of the artisan industries whose activities, for the most part, seem to have been the salting of food.
The Porta Stabia neighborhood saw a major revival in the early 1st century. The old factories were demolished and large buildings were erected on those areas. The small industry was replaced by commercial operations, shops and restaurants, to cater to the needs of the crowds in the neighborhood. Not all stores and restaurants were the same and there were big differences in the quality and cost of products from one store to the next.
«The drainage material revealed a large number of materials to suggest a clearer socio-economic distinction between the activities and consumption habits of each property, which were hospitality businesses"Said Ellis, an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati.
The findings revealed foods that would have been cheap and widely available such as rice, fruits, nuts, olives, lentils, fish and chicken eggs, as well as minimal cuts of the most expensive meat and salty fish from what is now Spain. Waste from neighboring drains would in turn have less variety of foods, which reveals a socioeconomic difference between neighbors.
A leak from a downtown property revealed a rich variety of foods, as well as imports from outside of Italy, such as crustaceans, sea urchins and delicacies including a giraffe's leg.
«The bone showed the high level that exotic food represented at the time; thought to be the only giraffe bone to have been recorded from an archaeological dig in Roman Italy«Ellis pointed out.
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