Pompeii and Herculaneum Economy: Economy and Occupations
The economy of Pompeii and Herculaneum was primarily agricultural with a smaller number of trade and crafts practiced. Pompeii has been perceived as a bustling commercial centre, a vestibule of a house reading, “Profit is joy.” The bigger wheel ruts seen in the streets of Pompeii compared to Herculaneum also suggest a busier economy with epigraphic evidence suggestive of trades and guilds around the walls of the town. Herculaneum was a quieter fishing village, not as much evidence has been uncovered as Pompeii as it was covered by 20m of volcanic residue; for example, the Forum has not been excavated yet. The main industry was fishing, with fish hooks, fish skeletons, nets, a boat and boat sheds discovered. The wood architecture of vaulted chambers also suggests the capacity for boat storage. Majority of people from Pompeii and Herculaneum relied strongly on the production of wine and olive oil as their main sources of income. Grape vines grew plentifully in the rich soil on the slopes of Vesuvius. From grapes, wine was produced and sold locally, the demand for wine was great in Pompeii, as there were over 130 bars and taverns in the city. Taverns themselves did not produce the wine, but relied on the big farm cellars outside the walls of Pompeii. Wheat was farmed to be crushed by volcanic stone for the bread industry; a thriving trade in both towns with around 30 bakeries being excavated in Pompeii. Brick ovens and lava stone mills were turned by donkies, their skeletons being found in the mills of Herculaneum. The Villa Regina at Boscoreale was excavated with cultivated land from 1977, there, 18 storage jars, a storage capacity of 10 000L, a grape press, signs of 195 stakes and 300 vine cavities were discovered. The production of olive oil was also essential to the economy. Oil was produced in the same places as the wine; Boscoreale had enough storage jars to contain 5910 litres. Olive oil was...
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