Trove of jewels and charms found at Pompeii give insight into 'female world' of Ancient Rome

Some of the finds in the House of the Garden in Pompeii
Some of the finds in the House of the Garden in Pompeii Copyright Parco Archeologico di Pompei
Copyright Parco Archeologico di Pompei
By Caroline Mortimer
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Archaeologists say the finds at the House of the Garden in Regio V of Pompeii


Archaeologists working in Pompeii have found a collection of ornate jewellery, glass beads and good luck charms which they say give them an insight into 'the female world' of ancient Rome.

The collection was found in a wooden box in the House of the Garden in the Regio V section of the site.

It includes two mirrors, several pieces of a necklace, pieces of bronze, bone and amber as well as a human figure and several phallic amulets.

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79 killed at least 1,500 people and buried the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash and rock. It was eventually rediscovered in the 18th century.

Parco Archeologico di Pompei
The finds give us an insight into the "female world" of ancient RomeParco Archeologico di Pompei

The director of the Parco Archeologico di Pompei, Massimo Osanna, said: "They are objects of everyday life in the female world and are extraordinary because they tell micro-stories, biographies of the inhabitants of the city who tried to escape the eruption.

“Interesting is the iconography of objects and amulets, which invoke fortune, fertility and protection against bad luck. And the numerous pendants in the shape of small phallus, or the ear, the closed fist, the skull, the figure of Harpocrates, the scarabs.”

He said the team had discovered a room with ten victims of the eruption, including women and children, in the house and they were trying to establish whether they were a family by using DNA analysis.

The artefacts were found in the House of the Garden in Regio V of the complexParco Archeologico di Pompei

Osanna said the objects may have belonged to one of the victims found at the site.

The team believes the high quality of the amber and glass found as well as the intricate engraving of the figures suggest the importance of the home’s owner.

Some of the jewels will be exhibited, along with other jewellery found in Pompeii at the Palestra Grande on the site.

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