In Herculaneum, a researcher from York University studied what people ate and found out gender determined what was eaten in particular.
Scientists delved deeper into Herculaneum and had surprising findings that showed aspects like what people ate that gave more insight into life before the volcano in A.D. 79 consumed them. It seems that analysis of remains showed a difference in diets regarding the women and men of the ancient town.
What did they eat in ancient times?
Determining how to analyze food was done by looking at the amino acids, which compose proteins. The Daily Mail reported using several skeletons of mature individuals, 11 men and six women discovered in the volcanic debris that buried and roasted them alive.
Scientists studied carbon and nitrogen isotopes to help determine the diets during this period in ancient Rome. Roman men mainly ate fish and seafood, a luxury item back then, and grains as their staple. The local women ate meat, eggs, dairy, fruits, and vegetables based on a study from the remains of the doomed Roman city.
When Vesuvius erupted, Pompeii was caught, and towns were surprised and buried everyone who could not getaway. Many were immolated in hot ash that seared flesh and bone, but researchers recovered a good number of remains.
Records exist that hinted in several historical references suggested that ancient roman society had a variety of foods for consumption. This is now verified by the study that has proof that women ate meat and eggs.
More details about the Herculaneic diet
Silvia Soncin, an archeologist, said the investigation of the subjects show males would be eating more fish and other places in Romanic Italy.
Indicators show the men mainly were into fishing and activities that were associated with the sea. Most would be in influential positions, and many were ex-slaves who had access to fresh fish and luxury food items.
About 340 individuals were dug up from the beach and nine close by fornici (stone vaults) parallel to the shore in Herculaneum, which was close to Pompeii, noted by History. People were roasted by the volcanic flows inside these vaults, which became their tombs.
How it was done
The study uses the compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) technique to know the steady isotopes of amino acids in bone collagen of the skeletons. Results showed what kind of food was consumed by the dead individuals.
Analysis showed that men would have more sources from seafood compared to females. Part of the diet included are cereals more than women. But women would be eating more animal proteins, fruits, and vegetables, which contrasted from the males. Oliver Craig said that studying those who died in A.D. 79 is an excellent chance to know how they lived in Herculaneum and how they died.
This study provided proof that verified what the historical sources quote and more. It seems that the difference between where food comes from and who they are was gender-oriented before. The study was made possible by several institutions committed to the study of Pompeii and Herculaneum and published in the journal Science Advances.