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Fast Food Eatery Uncovered in Pompeii

By Brayden Yin

Fast food is part of our culture, but probably nobody guessed that fast food eateries existed in the Roman Empire. On December 26, scientists uncovered a complete thermopolium, or a food counter, in the lost city of Pompeii. This will help scientists find out more about the diet of a Roman.

Pompeii was a city about eighteen miles south of Naples, Italy. It was buried under many layers of ash and pumice since AD 79. In recent years, scientists have uncovered a lot of information from the remains of the buildings and the plaster casts of the bodies of the people who died in the disaster.

In the thermopolium, there are circular holes in the counter that the keeper of the store can lower food into. Remains of duck, goat, pig, fish, and snails were found inside earthenware pots, in some cases in the same dish. The thermopolium also sold wine, and crushed beans were discovered inside a jar, most likely to provide flavor to the wine.

Paintings of animals were also discovered. There is a painting showing two upside down ducks and a rooster on the front of the counter. This was possibly a menu to indicate what was being sold at the thermopolium. A cistern, fountain, and water fountain sit in the small square in front of the fast food eatery, and inside, ceramic jars, wine flasks, tall, two handled jars, and a drinking bowl. The last illustration seems to be a picture of the business itself, showing a man by a counter, holding food.

Scientists will do further research. The finds will be analyzed in the lab, and most of all, the food remains in the terracotta containers. That way, we can learn more about the food eaten by Romans, and increase knowledge about ancient culture.


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