France: 1st century tavern discovered Apr 1, 2016 15:25:59 GMT
Post by UKarchaeology on Apr 1, 2016 15:25:59 GMT
Overhead view of a possible ancient tavern, with three reddish circles marking the bread ovens and pebbles marking built-in benches in the dining room at the right.(Photo: Lattes excavations)
Finally a decent place to eat! Archaeologists digging in southern France have found a restaurant-like structure roughly 2,100 years old, making it one of the earliest such taverns in the western Mediterranean.
The dining complex in the ancient town of Lattara was open for business as the Romans conquered the area, bringing with them ideas that would shake up the local economy and way of life. According to the tavern’s discoverers, Lattara’s people were farmers before the Romans marched in; after the Roman takeover, new kinds of jobs likely arose – and so did dining out.
“If you’re not growing your own food, where are you going to eat?” says archaeologist Benjamin Luley of Gettysburg College, co-author of a new study in Antiquity describing the site. “The Romans, in a very practical Roman way, had a very practical solution … a tavern.”
At first the researchers thought they’d uncovered a bakery. In a room near a key intersection in Lattara, excavations over the last five years revealed the remains of three indoor gristmills and a trio of ovens, each three to four feet across, commonly used to bake flatbread. A home cook had no need for equipment on such an industrial scale.
In another room just across a courtyard, earthen benches lined the walls and a charcoal-burning hearth occupied the middle of the floor. Those features suggested a sit-down joint rather than a takeout counter.
The menu must’ve been extensive. Fish bones littered the kitchen, and bones from sheep and cattle were found in the courtyard. The floors were scattered with shards of fancy drinking bowls imported from Italy, as well as debris from large platters and bowls, report Luley and his colleague Gaël Piquès of France’s National Center for Scientific Research.
Full story: www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/02/17/ancient-tavern-found-in-france/80506030/