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An ancient shrine frozen in time for 2,000 years has been uncovered in the ruined city of Pompeii.
The alter space was perfectly preserved in volcanic ash following the devastating 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which laid waste to the city and killed 16,000 people.
Photos - Site - Show - Walls - Paintings
Photos of the site show deep blood-red walls and paintings of bulls, as well as enchanted garden scenes of delicate birds, trees and snakes.
Archaeologists described the shrine, known as a lararium, as 'exceptional', and are now excavating the ruins to uncover more about the people who used it.
Roman - Times - Lararia - Spaces - Entrances
In ancient Roman times, lararia were altar spaces at the entrances of homes of the well-to-do where offerings and prayers were made to the gods.
Massimo Osanna, head of the Pompeii archaeological site, described the discovery as a 'marvelous and enigmatic room that now must be studied at length.'
Room - Wall - House - Paintings - Roman
The room, which has not yet been fully excavated, is embedded in the wall of a small house and features paintings of Roman gods key to household rituals.
Paintings of animals in an enchanted garden scene are typical of Roman illusionistic style, with a peacock drawn along the bottom of a wall to give the appearance it was walking in the real garden.
Wall - Painting - Man - Head - Dog
One wall painting depicts a man with the head of a dog, which experts suggest could be a Romanised version of the Egyptian god Anubis.
Shrines were common to Roman households, Professor Ingrid Rowland, a historian at the University of Notre Dame, told...
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