Rare And ‘Expensive’ Blue Shrine Unearthed In Pompeii

Buried and unseen for nearly 2,000 years, a sacred room has been unearthed at Pompeii with painted blue walls, a rare and expensive color in the Roman city.

Describing it as a “very unusual thing for Pompeii,” the site’s director Gabriel Zuchtriegel told NBC News on a tour of the newly excavated site that blue “was the most expensive color” because it was difficult to make.

“You had to import it from Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean and beyond. So it was expensive, and if you wanted to have something in blue, you had to pay more,” he said. Red, yellow and black were much easier to produce because natural materials like stone and sand were widely available, he added.

It comes from block No. 10 of Pompeii’s ninth section, a never-before excavated area of the town destroyed in the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano in 79 A.D.

Decorated with female figures representing the four seasons and portrayals of agriculture and sheep farming, the room has been “interpreted as a sacrarium, a shrine devoted to ritual activities and the storage of sacred objects,” the Archaeological Park of Pompeii said in a news release.

For wealthy politicians and business owners, an elaborate classical painting was a prime showpiece and talking point when entertaining guests.

Read more here from NBC News.