Archaeologists Discover Ancient ‘Fast Food’ Bar In Pompeii

General view of the archaeological site on April 12, 2014 in Pompei, Italy.
Giorgio Cosulich / Getty Images

Archaeologists have discovered what they are describing as an ancient fast food counter in the ruins of Pompeii, the Roman city destroyed by a volcano almost 2,000 years ago.

Researchers unearthed what appeared to be bars, or thermopolium, that were probably used to serve food, Newsweek reported. The areas were believed to be scattered across the city to serve poorer citizens who did not have cooking facilities in their homes. Food items that may have been available at one of the food bars include bread with salty fish, baked cheese, and lentils.

Remarkably, colorful frescoes painted on the counters have survived after being buried under volcanic ash for hundreds of years. A painting on one side of a counter featured a sea nymph seated on a horse. Another section of the counter depicted a person serving food on trays in an area that had a containers on a shelf and some tall pitchers, or vases, nearby. The painting of the person serving food was of particular interest because archaeologists compared it to a “modern shop sign advertising the nature of a business.”

Other vessels uncovered near the area looked amazingly like the vessels painted in one of the frescoes.

The discovery was made at a the Regio V excavation site at the intersection of Vicolo delle Nozze d’Argento and Vicolo dei Balconi, which has now been completely uncovered, according to the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. Newsweek reported that at least 80 thermopolium have been unearthed in other excavation sites near the area.

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Other recent discoveries in Pompeii have shed light on the kind of life people lived in the ancient city before Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E., burying most of the population. The Regio V site is rich with artifacts that have were literally preserved in time. Shops, gardens, artwork, alleys, and streets are just a few of the things researchers have discovered while digging in the area.

Excavating has also revealed the horrible way in which the residents of Pompeii died. National Geographic reported that plaster castings and computer simulations have indicated that victims died not because they suffocated from breathing smoke and ash, but because of extreme exposure to heat.

In October, researchers discovered a message written on a wall that suggested the explosion occurred in October, rather than August, according to Fox News. The text reportedly refers to “the sixteenth day prior to the Calends of November,” which would be the modern-day equivalent of October 17.