The forerunner to the current pizza — but without the cheese and tomatoes — was represented on an old painting, archaeologists from Pompeii announced on Tuesday.
During recent excavations at the expansive archaeological site, a 2,000-year-old artwork was found in the center of a partially collapsed wall. It shows a silver tray carrying a circular flatbread, together with fresh and dried fruits like pomegranates and dates, as well as a tumbler of red wine.
Experts said that: “What was depicted on the wall of an ancient Pompeian house could be a distant ancestor of the modern dish.”
According to the reports of The Peninsula, the Roman city was covered in a thick layer of ash during Mount Vesuvius’ destructive volcanic eruption in AD 79, concealing the numerous riches that archaeologists are now painstakingly uncovering.
The fresco is thought to be a reference to the “hospitable gifts” given to visitors, which are in keeping with a Greek custom that dates back to the third to first centuries BC and was written about by imperial Roman authors like Virgil and Philostratus.
Gabriel Zuchtriegel who is the Pompeii’s director said the newly uncovered fresco shows the contrast between “a frugal and simple meal, which refers to a sphere between the bucolic and the sacred… and the luxury of silver trays and the refinement of artistic and literary representations.”
“How can we fail to think, in this regard, of pizza, also born as a ‘poor’ dish in southern Italy, which has now conquered the world and is also served in starred restaurants,” he added.
The recently discovered excavations uncovered an atrium of a home with a bakery annex that had only been partially examined in the late 19th century.
“In the working areas near the oven, the skeletons of three victims have been found in the past weeks,” said experts.
A large cloud of gases and ash engulfed the city, and archaeologists believe that 15 to 20 percent of Pompeii’s people perished in the eruption, largely from heat shock.