Previous / Next

House VI 15,5

Form of house

This house had two entrances, one on the west side of the street between Insulae VI 15 and VI 16 and the other on the east side of the street between Insulae VI 15 and VI 11. It had a ground-floor area of c. 800 m2, thus belonging to Wallace-Hadrill's Quartile 4 (1994:81). The house conformed to a standard front-hall/garden plan, with the garden lying crossways to the front-hall area.

Excavation reports

Unpublished: GdSc A,VI,3 (Jan 1888﹣Oct 1899):175﹣96 passim; A,VI,4 (Nov 1899﹣Oct 1904):34.

Published: Anon 1895:474, 1896:104, 167, 204, 227﹣30; Sogliano 1895:438﹣40, 1897:14, 21﹣30, 107, 1900:240; Mau 1898:11﹣24.

Excavation recording

This house was excavated between October 1895 and March 1897 with some clearing continuing until June 1990. The excavation and its recording are comparable to those of the last two houses, although possibly slightly less careful. This house with little well-preserved decoration was presumably not considered very important. Material from the upper levels of the deposit was indicated as such, but it is not always clear in which room the finds were made. Mau's recording of the finds seems to reiterate the excavators' and was possibly derived from their report.

Interpretation of whole house

This house has been left largely unprotected since its excavation so identifying evidence of post-eruption intrusion in the walls is difficult. The only observable breaches were in the area from which the most finds were reported. No evident disturbance was recorded by the excavators. Mau noted (1898:12) that little Fourth-Style decoration was preserved in this house. He dated all the decoration before AD 62. He concluded that walls built after the earthquake had remained without plaster. Thus, he believed that the house had been occupied at the time of the eruption but in an unfinished state.

Mau might have been correct regarding the occupancy of the house, but the presence of finds in the apparently unfinished front hall and the confusion in the garden make it difficult to see a straightforward relationship between the AD 62 earthquake and any restoration program. The density of finds, at least in the garden and front hall areas, implies an active and current use of the house before the eruption. However, the presence of building material, the condition of garden area, the concentration of finds in apparently religious areas, and the apparent lack of activity in the northernmost part of the house hint at the occupants' uncertainty, conceivably caused by ongoing disruption after the AD 62 earthquake.