The remains of a 2,000-year-old prison bakery have been discovered on the site of the ancient city of Pompeii in Italy. There, slaves had to grind grain for bread in a small, very cramped room with barred windows, as the facility’s administration announced on Friday.

In another room, three historic corpses have been uncovered in recent months. The German director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, Gabrielzuchtriegel, spoke of a particularly shocking side of “ancient slavery”.

During the excavations, researchers also found markings in the ground that were used to guide donkeys in circles to keep the millstone running. According to current knowledge, the animals were blindfolded. Apparently the system was no longer in operation when the volcano Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. At that time, ash, mud and lava buried the ancient city meters deep after several eruptions. Pompeii was only rediscovered in the 18th century.

The preserved remains of death and devastation today provide insight into life back then. This also includes the remains of what are now more than 30 bakeries. The complex near the coast in the Gulf of Naples is one of Italy’s most visited attractions.

See the photo series from our archive: In Como, Italy, construction workers found an amphora in the mud under a building in 2018. Inside were 300 gold coins – neatly stacked. Presumably they were supposed to be protected from marauding barbarians.