Exhibition sponsored by

Goldman Sachs logo

In collaboration with

Soprintendenza Speciale per I Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei logo

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Making 2,000-year-old bread


In AD 79, a baker put his loaf of bread into the oven. Nearly 2,000 years later it was found during excavations in Herculaneum. The British Museum asked Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the recipe as part of his culinary investigations for Pompeii Live. Try it for yourself using Giorgio's recipe. 



400g biga acida (sourdough)
12g yeast
18g gluten
24g salt
532g water
405g spelt flour
405g wholemeal flour

Carbonised loaf of bread, AD 79, Roman, Herculaneum. © Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei


Melt the yeast into the water and add it into the biga. Mix and sieve the flours together with the gluten and add to the water mix. Mix for two minutes, add the salt and keep mixing for another three minutes. Make a round shape with it and leave to rest for one hour. Put some string around it to keep its shape during cooking. Make some cuts on top before cooking to help the bread rise in the oven and cook for 30–45 minutes at 200 degrees.



Pompeii exhibition

Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum

28 March – 29 September 2013

From the bustling street to the intimate spaces of a Roman home, this major exhibition will take you to the heart of people’s lives in Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Find out more 


Pompeii events

Bringing the Romans to life in the heart of London

Come to the British Museum for a range of lectures, workshops, films and craft activities exploring life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

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By exhibition curator
Paul Roberts

This captivating book explores the lives of the ordinary people of Pompeii and Herculaneum buried by the catastrophic volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Includes new photography and over 200 objects.



Download the official exhibition app

Immerse yourself in the life of the two Roman cities through exclusive video footage and curator interviews. Explore the story of Vesuvius's eruption in the interactive timeline to see the differing fates of the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Find out more