from Kristina Killgrove, Forbes.com
Vat Of Ancient Fish Sauce May Confirm Date That Pompeii Was Destroyed
The traditional date on which Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, destroying Pompeii and other sites in the Bay of Naples, is August 24 based on historical records. This date has often been questioned, however, on the basis of the heavy clothing worn, the presence of some late autumn fruits and wine, and a charcoal inscription recovered last year. A close analysis of fish skeletons recovered from Pompeii is the latest evidence in this longstanding debate.
Ancient Romans had a complicated relationship with seafood. While many people undoubtedly consumed it, particularly those who lived close to the coast, this resource was more seasonal and less dependable than terrestrial meat such as pork. Much more popular was the fermented fish sauce called garum, which may have originally been created to preserve fish during times of plenty. Similar to East Asian fish sauce consumed today, garum was made from small fish macerated over the span of several months.
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