Thorough studies and examination of archaeological evidence such as human remains, statues, graffiti and other artefacts that were preserved under hardened ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D. and written sources like Pliny’s writings enable archaeologists and historians to gain insight into the Pompeian and Herculanean lifestyle and occupation.
Since its accidental discovery in 1748, there have been numbers of excavation conducted in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Pompeii had a larger scale than Herculaneum and had better preserved artefacts due to the ash that covered the town whilst Herculaneum was melted in lava.
Six hundred shops have been excavated in Pompeii which indicates economic activity. Volcanic eruptions before 79 A.D. provided a fertile land which divided Pompeii into agricultural and commercial town. Production of wine, olives, textiles and garum were Pompeii’s major industries whilst smaller industries include bread making, perfume, pottery and metal work.
A fish sauce called garum was the most popular product of Pompeii. Both upper and lower class enjoyed garum in their meals as it was considered a delicacy. Garum was made from pounded mixture of intestines, gills, blood, vinegar and herbs which were left in the sun to ferment. Numbers of urcei or garum jars were recently discovered in a house in Herculaneum where one had an intact fish skeleton in a size of a sardine. These findings raised discussions whether Pompeii exported garum to Rome and other neighbouring towns like Herculaneum. The excavated fishing hooks, nets, fish skeletons and boat sheds in Herculaneum suggest fishing as their main industry contradicts with Pompeii’s garum commercial production and exportation theory. However the urcei’s origins are not yet certain and are still under examination. Pompeian garum jars that were found in France confirm that garum was indeed exported to other towns and support trading as one of Pompeii and...