‘World’s oldest pizza’ unearthed in 2000 year-old painting of ‘distant ancestor’

Experts at the Regio IX area of Pompeii’s archaeological park believe the fresco may depict an ancestor of the modern day pizza

Matt Drake
Tuesday 27 June 2023 22:24 BST
<p>The still life fresco is 2,000 years old and depicts an ancestor of the pizza</p>

The still life fresco is 2,000 years old and depicts an ancestor of the pizza

A Roman fresco has been discovered that reveals what could be an ancient ancestor of pizza from 2,000 years ago.

The painting was recently discovered during excavations in the Regio IX area of Pompeii’s archaeological park in Italy.

The remains of the Roman city are close to Naples, the birthplace of pizza, and the artwork itself is believed to be two thousand years old.

"What was depicted on the wall of an ancient Pompeian house could be a distant ancestor of the modern dish,” experts at the archaeological park said in a statement.

The fresco appears to depict a round focaccia bread served with a variety of fruits.

Experts think the bread is seasoned with a herb cheese spread known as a moretum which was eaten by the Romans, The Guardian reported.

The bread is served with wine and fruits including pomegranate, a date and something that looks like pineapple although that fruit was not discovered by Europeans until 1493 when Christopher Columbus came across it in Guadeloupe.

The "pizza" also lacks two classic ingredients; tomatoes and mozzarella.

The fresco shows the circular bread being served with wine and fruit

Tomatoes were introduced to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century and so were unavailable in Roman times.- Some experts believe that the discovery of mozzarella may have led directly to the invention of pizza in the 1700s.

Pompeii itself was buried under ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD.

More than 1,300 victims have been found over the last 250 years in the archaeological site 14 miles south of Naples.

Every resident died when the city was hit by a ‘pyroclastic’ hot surge.

These surges are a collection of hot gas and volcanic materials that flow down the side of an erupting volcano at high speed.

They are more dangerous than lava because they are faster, with speeds of 450mph and temperatures of 1,000C.

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