Pompeii: Archaeologists discover ceremonial chariot nearby

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The 2,000-year-old pieces of furniture have been compared to that produced by modern-day homeware store, Ikea. The beds were fashioned out of wooden planks which the sleeper could alter depending on their size.

They were bound together with pieces of string, keeping the planks of wood together.

The beds were found in a small room in which slaves had lived during the era of Ancient Rome, which was described as “exceptionally well-preserved”.

The Italian media labelled the beds “an Ikea model for the ancient world”.

Dario Franceschini, Italian minister for culture, said the excavation of the villa where the beds were found was “an important discovery that enriches the knowledge of the daily life of ancient Pompeiians”.

Officials also noted that it offers “a very rare insight into the daily life of slaves” in Pompeii at the time.

Archaeologists described how “the beds are made of several roughly-worked wooden planks which could be adjusted according to the height of whoever used them.

“While two of them are about 1.7 metres long, one bed measures just 1.4 metres.”

They continued that it “may therefore have belonged to a young man or child.”

Unearthed on Saturday, the three beds – one of which may be for a child – were found in a room containing a chamber pot and a number of amphorae, or storage jars typical of the time.

The room and its contents were part of a villa in Civita Giuliana, a suburb of the ancient city encased in volcanic ash after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Gabriel Zuchtriegel, director of the Pompeii archaeological site, commented: “This is a window into the precarious reality of people who seldom appear in historical sources [because they] were written almost exclusively by men belonging to the elite.”

He continued that those unreported members of ancient society “risk remaining invisible in historical accounts.”

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He added: “What is most striking is the cramped and precarious nature of this room, which was something between a dormitory and a storage room of just 16 square metres.”

He described the claustrophobic dimensions of the room as one which “hits you with the harshness of its squalor, like a blow to the stomach.”

He called the scene a reminder of the “raw reality” of the conditions in which those least respected in Ancient Roman society lived.

The director-general of museums in Italy, Massimo Osanna, stated: “The study of this room will allow us to uncover new information on the living conditions and lives of slaves at Pompeii and in the Roman world.”

Earlier this year, archaeologists also discovered a ceremonial chariot close to whether they found the Ikea-reminiscent furniture this weekend.

It was found facing what had previously been a stable, where what was left of three horses was uncovered in 2018.

The area in which these discoveries have been made in recent years in Civita Giuliana has been a target for pillagers rummaging through the ruins for spoils.

It has been a protected site since 2017, with alleged tomb raiders under investigation and facing prosecution by authorities.

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