Newly discovered Pompeii grab-and-go snack bar once served up sheep soup

Remains of an ancient home with snack bar in Pompeii
Example of a thermopolium in Pompeii
Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler (Getty Images)

Since the dawn of time, humans have sought convenient, affordable lunch options. One might argue that the grab-and-go lunch began with Homo habilis, the omnivorous early man who scavenged meals from animal carcasses. But no one did fast-casual eats like the hustle-oriented citizens of Pompeii, who, according to a recent report by the New York Times, may have regularly grabbed sheep soup from an ornate snack bar during their lunch break from Pompeii, LLC.

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The report details the latest major archeological finding in Pompeii: a street food stall, or thermopolium, that dates to 79 C.E. The food stall was partially uncovered in 2019, but the most recent excavation phrase revealed several frescoes of the animals presumably butchered and sold at the stall. Massimo Osanna, director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, said in a statement that this thermopolium gives “another insight into daily life at Pompeii” and marks the “first time an area of this type has been excavated in its entirety.”

According to the Times, archaeologists have already determined that one vessel at the thermopolium contained wine. Archaeologists have yet to analyze the contents of two other jars uncovered at the thermopolium, but archaeologist Chiara Corbino told the Times they may have held meat dishes including a tantalizing stew featuring snails, fish, and sheep.

This actually isn’t the first snack bar uncovered in the ruins of Pompeii. According to the Times, archaeologists started excavating the site in 1748; since then, about 80 thermopolia have been found at Pompeii. If anything, the food stalls prove the value of stepping away from your desk for a hard-earned midday break. After all, you could be moments away from suffering a horrible demise involving metric tons of volcanic ash and lava. Might as well have a nice lunch.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

DISCUSSION

I wonder what future archaeologists will say about hot dog sandwiches?