Archaeologists working in the buried Roman city of Pompeii said they have uncovered a ‘sorcerer’s treasure trove’ of artefacts, including good-luck charms, mirrors and glass beads. Most of the items would have belonged to women, says Massimo Osanna, director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii.
The trove was found in the House of the Garden in Region V of the archaeological park, the same area where an inscription was discovered last year, inside what remained of a wooden box. The wood itself had decomposed and only the bronze hinges remained, preserved by the volcanic material which hardened over it.
In it were crystals, ceramic, amethysts and amber. Scarabs (beetle-shaped amulets) from the Middle East were identified, along with various gems, including a carnelian with a craftsman figure and a glass bead engraved with the head of Dionysus, the Roman god of wine, fertility and ritual madness.
It was more likely the objects belonged to a servant or a slave, rather than the owner of the house, said Osanna. None of the artefacts was made of gold, much favoured by the wealthy of Pompeii. According to sources, a room with the bodies of 10 victims, including women and children, was excavated in the same house. Archaeologists were now trying to establish kinship ties between the bodies found in the house via DNA analysis.