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Casa degli Amanti

Form of house

This house lies to the southwest of the Casa del Menandro and has only one entrance from the street that runs between Insulae I 3 and I 10. It is a medium-sized house for this sample, with a ground-floor area of about 460 m2, thus belonging to Wallace-Hadrill's Quartile 4 (1994:81). It has a regular front-hall/garden plan.

Excavation reports

Unpublished: GdSc A,VI,7 (April 1929﹣December 1935): 60, 70, 98, 241, 306﹣32 passim.

Published: Elia 1934:309﹣39.

Excavation recording

The excavations of the Casa degli Amanti were carried out mainly between March and May 1933, after those of the Casa del Menandro, Casa del Fabbro, and House I 10,8. Excavations to the south of garden c of the Casa del Menandro from September 1930 included the upper part of this house. The reports show attention to the provenances of the finds and to the state of the deposit that is comparable to that in the rest of the houses in this insula.*

Interpretation of whole house

According to Elia (1934:336), the completely mixed state of the volcanic deposit to within 1 m of the ground, the numerous breaches in the walls (interconnecting between rooms) and the lack of beds, portable tables, or seats were the result of the partial recuperation of the most precious and useful furnishings by the surviving occupants after the eruption. In Elia's opinion, what remained had escaped these searches. I have noted, however, that the owners were probably not responsible for this post-eruption disturbance. The presence of two skeletons suggests that some of the occupants did not escape. The almost complete lack of finds in the front hall and other decorated areas, various post-Third-Style changes to the decoration in the garden, the discovery of possible industrial material in both formal Fourth-Style and utilitarian rooms, and the lack of cooking implements in the kitchen all suggest that the house's occupancy could have changed after it's Fourth-Style refurbishing, which Ling (1997:211) dated between AD 62 and AD 79. The final occupancy seems somewhat downgraded from that intended by this decoration. The unrepaired damage in the entranceway and this downgrading might have been the result of a disruption later than that which caused the house to be decorated in the Fourth Style. The lack of evident building activity suggests that the final occupants were not in the process of refurbishing at the time of the eruption, but other distribution patterns imply that they were living in somewhat disrupted conditions.

* The Casa degli Amanti is part of more detailed study that has been carried out since this present study (Ling 1997, 2004; Painter 2001; Allison n.d.).