During recent excavations in Pompeii, archaeologists have uncovered an 8-square-meter room adorned with blue frescoed walls. This is a rare feature, as such spaces are typically characterized by the distinctive “Pompeian red.”

Located in Region IX, Insula 10 of Pompeii, the central area of the ancient city, the room is believed to be a Sacrarium—a space dedicated to ritual activities and the preservation of sacred objects, based on reconstructions and analyses by archaeologists.

This room is not entirely independent; it is integrated within the structures of a secondary quarter of what was once a grand Domus.

The Sacrarium had been identified during the Bourbon period but remained unexplored until now. The current excavations have revealed not only the magnificent blue-background frescoes of the Fourth Style, with figures already undergoing restoration, but also numerous transport amphorae, jugs, and oil lamps used in rituals.

The sacred themes of the room are highlighted by the female figures frescoed within the central niches of the walls. In the lateral niches, the Horae, representing the four seasons, are depicted. The central wall also features allegories of agriculture and pastoralism, with symbols of the plow and the pedum, a short staff used by Pompeian shepherds and hunters.

According to researchers at the archaeological site, the meaning of these paintings is rooted in a specific cultural context where “the world of agriculture has become a nostalgic memory with which the urban elite has lost any real connection,” as detailed in an in-depth study on the Sacrarium recently published in the E-Journal of Pompeii excavations.

The excavations have also uncovered a connected thermal quarter, still under investigation, and a large black frescoed hall that seems to be connected to a courtyard.

Among the artifacts found within the Sacrarium are piles of oyster shells used to create construction mortars. This suggests, according to the archaeologists, that expansion works were likely underway in the Domus.

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