Pompeii excavation unveils rare ‘blue room’ believed to be an ancient shrine

Written by on June 12, 2024

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(ITALY) — It has been thousands of years since the eruption of Mount Vesuvius left the Italian city of Pompeii in ruins, but the ancient archaeological site continues to offer new findings.

An ornate “blue room,” distinguished by depictions of female figures on the cerulean-painted walls, was newly excavated by archeologists, according to a press release from the Archaeological Parks of Pompeii earlier this month.

The room, which is nearly 90 square feet, was initially discovered during the Bourbon period (1813-1840) but was recently excavated and shown for the first time on May 27.

Experts believe some murals represent the four seasons, or “Horea.” Other murals are emblems of agriculture, such as a plow and a “pedum,” a short staff used by shepherds and hunters, according to the release.

The pigment of the room is particularly significant, according to experts, who noted “the color blue found in this room rarely occurs in Pompeian frescoes and was generally used for elaborately decorated rooms.”

The rare blue room has been interpreted as a sacrarium, or a Roman sanctuary “devoted to ritual activities and the storage of sacred objects,” experts said.

Objects discovered in the room include 15 transport amphorae, or large vases, along with a set of bronze objects consisting of two jugs and two lamps.

Additionally, archaeologists excavated piles of building materials that were ready to be used in the renovation work. A heap of empty oyster shells was also found.

The excavation of the blue room is part of a larger project to “safeguard the vast heritage” of Pompeii, which includes 13,000 rooms in 1070 residential units, as well as public and sacred areas, according to the release.

In 2018, a discovery was unearthed in a large villa that stood just outside the walls of Pompeii, far from the known archaeological area, during a joint operation of the Carabinieri of the Cultural Heritage Protection Center and Pompeii archaeological superintendence.

Archaeologists working at the site uncovered buildings with big balconies that had Pompeian red colors and geometric decorations of flowers and animals. They named it the ‘Vicolo dei Balconi’ (Alley of Balconies).

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