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House VI 16,26

Form of house

The house had two entrances on the east side of the street between Insulae VI 16 and V 6. It had a ground-floor area of c. 600 m2, thus belonging to Wallace-Hadrill's Quartile 4 (1994:81). It essentially conformed to a front-hall/garden plan except that the front hall and garden are on different axes, with the garden lying to the side of the front hall rather than at the opposite end to the entranceway.

Excavation reports

Unpublished: GdSc A,VI,5 (Nov. 1904﹣April 1912):3﹣12.

Published: Sogliano, 1908:183﹣92.

Excavation recording

This house was mainly excavated between November 1904 and October 1905. In general, the excavations before 1910 were less proficient than those discussed so far. Nonetheless, the excavators occasionally gave information on the state of the deposit and indicated if the finds were from levels above the pavement. Hence, it is usually possible to ascertain whether they were from the lower room or the one above. For this particular house, however, almost no attention was paid to the state of the volcanic deposit. This could conceivably have been because there was a paucity of well-preserved painted decoration in this house to interest the excavators in more careful recording.

Interpretation of whole house

The finds from this house were mainly concentrated around the front-hall area. No finds at all were reported from the east side of the garden; many of the rooms there were undecorated. Only easily lost finds and one statuette came from the kitchen and possible service area of the house. There would seem to have been more finds in the painted rooms around the front hall and in the corridor leading to the garden of this house than those in other houses. Room G seems to have been an area of multiple activities, and room E had a domestic personal assemblage. Thus, the activities in this house were perhaps restricted to this part, the formal function of the garden area possibly largely abandoned. This phenomenon was also observed in House I 6,8-9, the Casa dell'Efebo, and the Casa del Fabbro (see also garden 05 of the Casa delle Nozze d'Argento). However, the combination of both luxury furniture and building material in the front hall implies that the living conditions had been restricted and disrupted. It is by no means conclusive but, unless the decoration in the front hall and room C had been downgraded during the first half of the first century BC-traditionally believed to be an affluent period (see Richardson 1988a:309), these mixed assemblages were probably not associated with activity during disruption caused by the earthquake of AD 62. Instead, they imply ongoing disruption or residential deterioration.