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Well-preserved 'slave room' unearthed in ancient Roman city of Pompeii

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By Mark Armstrong  with AP
Well-preserved 'slave room' unearthed in ancient Roman city of Pompeii
Copyright  AP Photo

Historians tell us a lot about the lives of the citizens of the Roman Empire but very little of their unfortunate slaves.

Now archaeologists in Pompeii, Italy, have unearthed a 'slave room' preserved, like much of the rest of the city, under lava after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago.

"This is an exceptional insight into the life and daily work of a part of the ancient population that is little known from official sources, which are almost always from the point of view of the elites," explained Gabriel Zuchtriegel, General Director of Pompeii's Archaeological Site. 

"In this case, we are seeing the life of slaves, servants: people of a very low social status."

The site consists of a well-preserved room, thought to be a bedroom, of a small family of slaves or servants.

There are two adult-size beds and one smaller, presumably for a child.

The room was discovered after police stumbled across illegal tunnels dug by alleged looters in 2017.

The archaeologists also uncovered the skeletal remains of two people, believed to have been a wealthy man and his male slave, who were struck by volcanic ash when attempting to escape after the eruption.