Preserved loaf of bread discovered at Pompeii

Photograph of a preserved circular loaf of bread discovered at PompeiiThis is the ultimate piece of toast: a loaf of bread made in the first century AD, which was discovered at Pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius. The markings visible on the top are made from a Roman bread stamp, which bakeries were required to use in order to mark the source of the loaves, and to prevent fraud.

I can’t get over how well it maintained its shape and texture, through both the volcano eruption and the ravages of time. It’s a very unsettling tribute to the normalcy of day-to-day life leading up to the catastrophic event: a (sort of) edible memento mori.

// Image via Ancient Resource.

Elsewhere on the Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things:

TIbi Tibi Neuspiel, Assanation Sandwiches: Lincoln/Booth, 2009. Oil paint, wax, pigment.

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23 thoughts on “Preserved loaf of bread discovered at Pompeii

  1. How cool is that! I work with kids and reading. I love sharing neat tidbits of ideas. When I connect an idea like ancient bread to a particular time in history we all remember better. I think it’s like hanging hooks in a closet. When I learn another fact in that time period I have a place to put it. Thanks for writing this.

      • You are kind to say that. I’ve been at it for 23 years. Most of my good ideas come from my need to learn. When I was in school remembering historical facts meant nothing to me. When I began to teach I decided that remembering the “important” facts wasn’t going to be primary for us. I asked the kids to find something from that era that meant something to them like the first tea shop opening up for a tea lover or when the first football was made if your into that kind of thing. Stuff like that. We remember what’s important to us. We also remember relationships easier than events and dates.
        Oh, well, I ramble on. I appreciate your post.

  2. Pingback: Preserved loaf of bread discovered at Pompeii | Menningarmiðlun ehf.

    • I’m guessing, it was made like an “Upside Down Cake” . The “label” and lines are a relief of the pan it was baked in.

      • I don’t thinks so, a pan would have left a more uniform depth marking, being that it was on the bottom of the pan. However this looks like a wooden stamp quickly done in dough.

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  4. I love the bread and the history behind it but please, when educating people, please do so correctly. It is a tribute to the NORMALITY of day to day life, normalcy is not a word!

    • Actually, normalcy is indeed a word; although less common than normality, it has been in dictionaries since the mid-nineteenth century, which is about the same time that the word ‘normal’ and ‘normality’ emerged as the concept we understand it as today. (An excellent book on the subject is Lennard Davis’s ‘Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body’, which traces the emergence of statistical measurement in the 19th century to contemporary perceptions of abnormality). The word ‘normalcy’ was rescued from obscurity in a famous speech by American president Warren G Harding in 1920, who, even then, was falsely accused of using a neologism.
      When educating people, please do so correctly.

  5. Pingback: The Plain Jane Costume Chronicles

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