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Unearthed: Archaeologists discover "magic treasure" in Pompeii


TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates

Rome (dpa) - In Italy's most famous archaeological site, archaeologists have made a find that leaves puzzles: In the southeast of Naples Pompeii in the "House of Giardino" researchers exposed a chest of exotic objects, as the Italian news agency Ansa reported.

These included crystals and rocks, buttons made of bone, oriental beetles, amulets, dolls, bells, miniature penises and even a small skull. The find could have been part of a sort of "treasury of a magician," said the director of the Pompeii excavation site, Massimo Osanna.

The experts suspect a cultic background: some items were considered lucky charms, others were attributed by Osanna directly the ability to end bad luck strands. The objects could therefore have been used in rituals to increase fertility and seduction, or to summon the success of a pregnancy or childbirth. Probably the objects would have belonged not to the rich homeowner, but to a servant or a slave of the house, Osanna supposed. This indicated that the chest contained no gold, with which the then upper class liked to adorn.

In the same archaeological site, archaeologists have recently come across an inscription that led historians to change the alleged date of the Vesuvius eruption that buried the city with embers, stones and ashes - from 24 August to 24 October 79 AD.

Ansa message (English)

Source: zeit

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