A 2,000-year-old ancient Roman dry cleaner was unearthed by archaeologists at the Pompeii Archaeological Park in Italy, the Miami Herald reports.
Archaeologists have been excavating a previously unexplored section of the site at Insula 10 in Regio IX along the via di Nola. The land is sizable—“about the size of a city block,” per the Miami Herald—and was used for farming until it became part of the archaeological park in 2015.
The team uncovered the ridges and upper floors of several buildings, including a house that was converted into a fullonica, or a laundry shop, according to a release from the archaeological park on Monday. In these shops, launderers would have been paid to wash people’s clothes.
Ancient Romans used human and animal urine to wash their clothes. The urine would have been collected in pots along the city streets. The ammonia in the urine would counteract dirt and grease stains. The clothes would be washed in vats of water and urine, and subsequently stomped on by the workers. The garments would then be rinsed and hung to dry.
This is not the first facility of this kind to be found within the ancient city. The Fullonica of Stephanus, which started as a house and was converted into a laundry shop, was identified in 1912.
The ancient Roman city Pompeii was buried and preserved during the 79 CE eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Though only two-thirds of Pompeii have been explored, the city has been under excavation for more than a century.
As archaeologists work to further stabilize the conditions of the site, there have been a number of restorations and finds, including the recent discovery of a middle-class home and the reopening of the House of the Vettii.