Pompéi (Italie) : 'Enchanted garden' discovered

Source - https://www.thelocal.it/20181005/in-photos-enchanted-garden-discovered-pompeii

67be7a163d4e41263782551737137bc96ab9d2a10b40d238da4f070261e61083The director of Pompeii, Massimo Osanna, in the newly unearthed 'Enchanted Garden'. Photo: Ciro Fusco/Parco Archeologico di Pompei

The latest treasure to emerge from the ruins of Pompeii is what's been dubbed an 'enchanted garden', a courtyard lined with images of mythical beasts.

The courtyard, which stands in a house in one of the less explored areas of the ancient city, is believed to be a lararium – a shrine to the Lares, Roman gods who were believed to protect the home and family.

While such shrines were a common feature of Roman houses, this lararium, covered in vividly coloured frescoes, is one of the finest examples discovered in Pompeii to date, according to archaeologists.

They believe that the walls once enclosed flowerbeds, where real flowers would have mingled with the plants, peacocks and other birds lining the panels.

1538742788 43153065 1904960739811135 7506348801741815808 oElsewhere, more fantastical creatures appear: two coiled serpents surrounding offerings of pinecones and eggs, and a figure that appears to be half man, half dog. The snakes are thought to represent protective spirits.

1538742637 43190307 1904960629811146 7450257954785198080 oOne wall, a vivid Pompeiian red, depicts a boar attacked by what appear to be lions and other other animals, which archaeologists say could be an allegory of good triumphing over evil.

1538742567 43167785 1904960599811149 9198595628949569536 oThere is also a decorated niche, presumably an altar, where they discovered the remains of offerings burnt to honour the Lares, as well as what may have once been a pool.

1538742761 43145785 1904960643144478 1666760057481592832 oIt is "a wonderful, enigmatic room that deserves to be studied in depth", Massimo Osanna, director of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, told Ansa.

751aa0a9 e3c8 4188 ab83 a975b9aa4aecThe courtyard was unearthed in a house that was partially excavated around a century ago, but had lain untouched until archaeologists began a new project to explore the area earlier this year. They have made several stunning discoveries since then, including the House of Dolphins, a villa painted with animal frescoes, and the Alley of Balconies, some rare examples of buildings whose upper storeys survived the volcanic eruption intact.