Archaeologists discover ‘pizza’ in 2,000-year-old painting years before ingredients were used
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Archaeologists excavating in the ancient city of Pompeii have discovered a painting that seems to show a form of pizza.
Of course, there are a couple of good reasons why it probably isn’t pizza in the way that we know it, but it definitely does look like it, doesn’t it?
Pompeii was covered under several metres of volcanic ash and rock after Mount Vesuvius erupted back in 79CE.
Still, to this day, we’re discovering more and more about what life was like back then, thanks in part to the catastrophic event that took place that day.
You see, the town beneath is preserved underneath the volcanic matter, meaning that there’s still stuff to be discovered, even 2,000 years after the fact.
Lately, they found something that looks like a really old pizza.
It was found in the hallway of a house that was close to a bakery by scientists digging at the southern Italian site.
The particular area is in the district of Regio IX, in case you’ve got good knowledge about how the buried city of Pompeii is divvied up.
Anyway, it was partially excavated in the 19th century, before more work was done this year and the wall painting was revealed.
It shows a flatbread, along with a cup full of wine.
The flatbread appears to have been covered in some sort of sauce, and might have been eaten with a variety of fruits or covered in spices.
Unlikely that it would have been pepperoni and cheese, though.
You see, tomatoes didn’t come across the Atlantic Ocean from Mesoamerica until around 1521, some 1,500 years after Pompeii was covered under the ash.
What’s more, mozzarella cheese wasn’t invented until long after, and that’s the basic staple of Neapolitan pizza.
What it does show us – according to Pompeii’s director Gabriel Zuchtriegel – is that the folks who lived there weren’t so different to you and I, they just lived ages ago.
It shows a ‘frugal and simple meal’ as well as the ‘luxury of silver trays’.
Zuchtriegel said: "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?”
Pizza is obviously huge in Italy, with as much as one third of the food budget of tourists visiting the country going on the stuff.
So, it's understandable that they’d want to draw a link here, if possible.
While it might not be the pizza that we have come to know and love today, it’s certainly not too dissimilar, and gives us a fascinating look into the past, as well as showing us the ways that things might have changed, but also stayed pretty much the same over the centuries.