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House I 10,8

Form of house

This house lies to the west of the Casa del Fabbro and has only one entrance to the street to the north of Insula I 10. Its ground-floor area of c. 265 m2 makes it a relatively small house for this sample, belonging to Wallace-Hadrill's Quartile 3 (1994:81). It has a basic front-hall/garden plan but with rooms along the east of the front hall only.

Excavation reports

Unpublished: GdSc A,VI,6 (May 1912﹣March 1929):465﹣68; A,VI,7 (April 1929﹣December 1935):242﹣96 passim.

Published: Elia, 1934:308﹣20.

Excavation recording

This house was excavated for the most part between November 1932 and January 1933. Hence, excavations began here a little earlier than in the Casa del Fabbro but both continued concurrently for some time. The standard of recording is similar to that in the latter house.*

Interpretation of whole house

According to Elia (1934:317), the small number of breaches in the walls and the state of the volcanic material indicate that this house for the most part had not been looted after the eruption. Conversely, the Giornali degli Scavi (A,VI,7:243) recorded large breaches in the walls of the rooms to the south and east of the front hall. This report and the breaches listed for this house seem to contradict Elia's conclusion that this house had not been disturbed after the eruption. Because of the paucity of contents recovered from the house, Elia hypothesized that it had been temporarily deserted and entrusted to a slave or a freedman at the time of the eruption (see Ward-Perkins and Claridge 1980: No. 88, who claim that this house had ceased to be a residence in AD 62). Elia noted that the bronze finds were industrial in character, that the vessels were mainly of glass or ceramic, that the modest bearing of the rooms gave the sense of poverty, and that the house was in the hands of people involved in a small shop or minor industry. She felt that the presence of fifty-three loom weights pointed to a weaver. At least some loom weights were found in nearly every house in Pompeii, especially in the front hall and sometimes in large quantities (see the Casa del Principe di Napoli and House VI 16,26). Their presence is likely to indicate weaving, but this was conceivably an activity of every household and not a specialist trade.

Ling argued (1997:196) that room 06 and a new upper story behind the front hall had been created after the AD 62 earthquake. According to Elia (1934:309), the character of the rooms to the east and south of the front hall indicates that they were undergoing a recent adaptation that must have been later than that of AD 62. Judging from the rusticity of the walls, the lack of the decoration, and its incompleteness, this adaptation was only partially complete at the time of the eruption. No skeletal remains or evidence that the kitchen had been recently used before the eruption were recorded in this house. Domestic material that in other houses had generally been stored in front-hall cupboards seems to have been packed into two storerooms, in a mixed fashion. Fragmentary sculpture was found in unexpected locations. The remains in the front hall, as Elia noted, were of a more industrial nature. It has been shown that room 04 was not being restored, as argued by Elia, and that rooms 08 and 10 were not being used for a purpose intended by the most recent refurbishing (in the Fourth Style in the case of room 08). The industrial activity in room 10 seems contemporaneous with that in the front hall, rooms 08 and 12, and possibly rooms 03 and 04.

In summary, the distribution in part echoes that of the next-door Casa del Fabbro, with industrial activity in what had previously been the entertainment area of the house. Here some of it was conceivably related to restoration work, however. This restoration and possible transformation can be dated later than the Fourth Style. There is no definitive evidence that occupancy continued until the final eruption.

* House I 10,8 is part of more detailed study that has been carried out since this present study (Ling 1997, 2004; Painter 2001; Allison n.d.).