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House VIII 2,26

Form of house

This house had an entrance on the south side of the street between Insulae VIII 2 and VIII 3. It had a ground-floor area of c. 550 m2, thus belonging to Wallace-Hadrill's Quartile 4 (1994:81). The house had a relatively standard front-hall/garden plan but with a terrace rather than a garden, underground rooms below the terrace, and no rooms to the south of the front hall between the front hall and terrace.

Excavation reports

Unpublished: GdSc (Nap) 17 (May﹣June 1826); GdSc (Jan 1988﹣Oct 1899): A,VI,3:71.

Published: Sogliano 1887:415, 1888:510, 512﹣14; PAH III:69﹣71;* Mau 1888:189﹣94.

Excavation recording

This house was excavated in May and June 1826 and then again between September 1887 and June 1888. Its excavation and recording standards seem comparable to those of House VIII 2,14-16, although probably even less attentive.

Interpretation of whole house

No stratigraphic information was provided for this house. The wealth of finds reportedly in the underground area entered from entranceway VIII 2,27 as opposed to the dearth in the ground-floor rooms, suggests that the latter had either been heavily disturbed or poorly reported. According to Noack and Lehmann-Hartleben (1936:82), room 06 demonstrated that the occupants of the house had enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle and the house in general, although not large, gave an impression of wealth. They concluded that the whole of the ground-floor living area had been rebuilt and decorated in the Fourth Style (1936:83) after the earthquake of AD 63 [sic] (1936:84) and that rooms k, h, i, and f had constituted the service wing of the house, with entranceway VIII 2, 27 as a service entrance also leading to an underground cellar area (1936:82). The extensive redecoration program implies that the house had still maintained a high living standard and formal function late in the life of the city. However, the almost complete lack of signs of activity on the ground floor and in the underground entertainment area to the south, while conceivably the result of post-eruption activity, gives no indication of the nature of the occupancy of this refurbished dwelling. This might be compared with the evidence in the front hall areas of the Casa del Menandro and Casa degli Amanti. Only the finds in the vicinity of entrance VIII 2,27 show any activity, but this had been the storage of mainly precious items in what Noack and Lehmann-Hartleben identified as a service storage area. While it is conceivable that this had been hoarded during the final eruption, the accompanying tools make a curious assemblage.** Unfortunately, the lack of explanation for the dearth of other finds prohibits further conclusions.

* This report of the assemblage in the entranceway VIII 2,27 appears to record the same finds as were reportedly made in House VIII 2,28 (PAH II:160-64). It is, therefore, not possible to ascertain which had been the correct location for this assemblage or which house is being referred to in GdSc (Napoli) no. 17.

** Given the excavation date of this house, it is conceivable that these finds were assemblaged by the excavators for visiting dignitaries.