Information concerning the rooms in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Jump to:
Entranceway a
Front hall b
Room c
Room d
Stairway ST
Room l
Room i
Room h
Room e
Room f
Corridor g
Courtyard m
Room n
Room o
Room r
Room p
Room q
Area s
Room s1
Upper Levels

Entranceway a in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Entranceway a led from the street to front hall b. The walls were decorated at one stage with a stuccoed cornice at the height of the architrave (Della Corte 1912:182). The pavement was of cocciopesto decorated with scattered colored tesserae.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Front hall b in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

This front hall (figure D.145) was entered from the north through entranceway a. Rooms c and d opened off its north side, stairway ST and rooms l, i, and h off the east side, corridor g, and rooms e and f off the south side. The east wall was decorated with rudimentary red socle (height: c. 1.43 m) with coarse white plaster above. On the south side and in the southwest area, the walls were covered with coarse gray plaster. The pavement was lavapesta.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Della Corte recorded (1913:28) that the roof of the front hall had collapsed from the weight of the lapilli with the result that a lot of roofing material was found a few centimeters from the floor in virgin lapilli. This implies the front hall was largely undisturbed and also that little volcanic material had fallen into it before the roof collapsed. The good preservation of the walls but lack of evident breaches may also exclude the possibility that it had been disturbed after the eruption.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The central catchment pool (impluvium) was furbished in Nocera tufa and had a travertine puteal at its southeast corner. A quantity of large and small cylindrical bone hinges found in the northwest corner, the southwest corner, and near the center of the west wall (Della Corte 1913:30, 32, 33) indicate that the pieces of furniture in these areas had been cupboards. This is confirmed by the discovery of a large number of bone laminae of various shapes and the presence of larger hinges that belong to the upright doors of cupboards (see cupboards in garden area of the Casa di Julius Polybius). The cupboard in the southwest corner contained almost exclusively glass and ceramic vessels (for example, Della Corte 1913:Fig. 6), including one inscribed amphora (Della Corte 1913:Fig. 5). They constituted the greater majority of the vessels found in the front hall. The glass vessels were mainly bottles or flasks, cups, and bowls. One glass cup contained turquoise-colored glass remains and was found on top of a robust green platter together with a layer of "materia granulosa cristalliforme" (material of a granular crystal) (Della Corte 1913:32). The vessels seem to have been either for storage or for eating and drinking. A possible exception is a fire-blackened bowl, probably for cooking food. The glass flasks were all less than 240 mm high, presumably containers for liquids in smaller quantities than, for example, the flasks found in the garden area of the Casa del Menandro. The presence of a pot containing fish bones indicates that this cupboard stored not only the vessels themselves but also food or other perishables. A lead pyramidal weight was found from this cupboard, and a large bronze lamp reportedly from this corner (reference to this lamp is found only in the inventory) may also have been kept in it.

The only two metal utensils and other unidentifiable iron remains found in the front hall came from the cupboard in the northwest corner. This cupboard also contained two small vessels, a ceramic jug, and two glass bottoni. The cupboard in the center of the west wall contained one terra sigillata bowl and bone implements (for example, Della Corte 1913:Fig. 7) that were more delicate and perhaps more precious objects. The only finds reported in the front hall that were not in these cupboards were a glass bottle found 1 m above the ground near the east wall and therefore possibly from the upper floor, a glass bead found near the entrance to room i, and the remains of furniture fittings found near the south pilaster of stairway ST. Della Corte (1913:33) identified the fittings as being from a chest with a horizontal lid, its form being visible in the volcanic deposit. Unfortunately, neither Della Corte nor the Giornali degli Scavi provided any measurements, but the description of the fittings implies a small, plaster-covered wooden chest (see plastered furniture remains in room B, the Casa del Menandro).

Interpretations of room:

This front hall contained cupboards rather than a strongbox, the presumed traditional front-hall furnishing (Daremberg and Saglio 1881﹣1919 I, 1:363﹣64, 530﹣32; see Allison 1999b:60﹣61). The present study shows that such cupboards appear to have been standard front-hall furnishings. The plaster-covered chest with its small fittings found near stairway ST is an unlikely candidate for a strongbox. In general, each cupboard seems to have held specific items. This and the lack of other material recorded from an apparently undisturbed front hall suggest that everything was stored away in a very orderly fashion.

The plastering of the east wall of this front hall appears to have been finished, unrelated to, and possibly earlier than the coarse plaster on the south side and in the southwest area. V. M. Strocka (1984b:130) referred to the latter as the same unfinished base plaster type as that found in room f and corridor g; however, it does not appear to have been a base plaster, like that in the socle zone of room c. In addition, entire walls in all of rooms a, d, f, and g were unlikely to have been covered with base plaster before the final decoration had commenced. Hence, this had conceivably been a coarse rendering rather than an incomplete decoration. Strocka also noted (1984b:129) that repair in the northwest corner of the front hall had remained unplastered. The masonry technique in this area is the same as that on the east wall of room d, which Strocka dated post-AD 62. However, it is also similar to that of the north wall of the front hall in the northwest corner the other side of which (that is, the south wall of room d) has Fourth-Style decoration, which Strocka dated (1984b:129) to pre-AD 62. This implies that after the front hall had been decorated with a high red socle and a white upper zone, for some reason it had received another even coarser plastering. Still later, the walls had to be repaired in the northwest corner but had not been replastered. Furniture had been (re)placed against the walls so that the front hall had continued to function as usual with cupboards storing domestic material.


Room c in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Room c was a relatively large room in the northeast corner of front hall b. It was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the west end of the south wall. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a red central zone with a central aedicula and side fields with still lifes separated by architectural openings against a white ground, and a white upper zone with architectural elements and small panels. The socle zones on all walls had base plaster only (Della Corte, 1912:406; Strocka 1984b:128, Pls. 54-65). The pavement was of somewhat uneven cocciopesto (Strocka 1984b:128).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

As in the front hall, this room had no evidence of tunneling. Stones from the collapse of the east wall were found in large quantities (Della Corte 1912:406; GdSc A,VI,6:68), suggesting that at least the eastern side of the room had not been disturbed after its collapse, presumably caused by the AD 79 eruption.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Ten bronze feet found along the south are likely to have been used as supports for dining couches, but the number and the lack of evidence for further fittings imply that they might not have been from complete in situ furniture. Other finds from the room included the remains of two weapons (Della Corte 1912:406 Figs. 7-8) from the southeast corner; a statuette, lamp, and glass bottle from the northeast corner; and two lead pestles, a small marble, an amphora, and plastering material from the west wall and northwest corner.

Interpretations of room:

The Fourth Style decoration in this room had been left incomplete with only base plaster in the socle zones (Della Corte 1912:406; Strocka 1984b:128). Strocka commented (1984b:128) that the contents of room c did not include painting equipment and that this room had probably been used for storage after its decoration had been abandoned. The mixed assemblage, ranging from a statuette and weapons to plastering material, does not suggest that this room had been a functioning triclinium, as it has been identified as (Della Corte 1912:406; Strocka 1984b, 128; de Vos and de Vos 1982:104; Foss 1994:212). This seems to confirm Strocka's theory that equipment had been stored here. The plastering material in the northwest corner, to which the two pestles might belong, seems to have been separate from other objects, which were mainly found on the east and south sides of the room. This conceivably suggests different phases of storing and that the room had not been used as anything other than a storeroom at the time of the eruption. Even if it is argued that complete beds had been present in this room, their location in a partially decorated room implies disrupted conditions (see room EE in the Casa di Julius Polybius). Foss's argument (1994:215) that this might have been summer storage in a winter dining room ignores the partially completed decoration and presence of restoration materials.


Room d in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Room d was a relatively small room in the northwest corner of front hall b and entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the east end of the south wall. The north, south, and west walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a yellow central zone with vignettes and ornamental borders and a white upper zone with garlands and swans (Strocka 1984b: Pls. 57.2-58). The socle zones on the south and west walls were of coarse plaster, and the east wall was completely covered with coarse plaster (figure D.146). The pavement of this room was cocciopesto with a border and ornamentation in white tesserae.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There is no indication that this room had been disturbed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only finds here consisted of door fittings and a wooden, ivory-decorated, bed along the north wall with a Julio-Claudian coin on top of it. The bed had a high back and sides and at least one leg decorated with three worked cylinders of ivory or bone (Pompeii photo archive C/574).

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri argued (1942:149) that the east wall and the socles on the other three walls had been awaiting fine plaster. Strocka observed (1984b:129), however, that the socle decoration on the north, south, and west walls was unfinished but that, in the southeast corner, the coarse plaster of the east wall overlay and was therefore later than the fine plaster on the south wall.* He also stated (1984b:130) that the masonry technique of the former walls was older than the earthquake of AD 62. He thus dated the unfinished decoration to before AD 62 and the reconstruction of the east wall to after AD 62, presuming that there had been only one damage-causing earthquake in Pompeii. However, it has already been noted above that the masonry of the south wall appears to be contemporary with that of the east wall. In addition, even if Strocka can validate his dating of the masonry technique, it does not necessarily follow that the decoration was of the same date. Strocka stated (1984b:130) that the impression made by the wooden paneling, the high sides, and the ivory plaque decoration of the bed (GdSc A,VI,6:70) shows that this had been a stately lectus and not a plank bed for a workman. He concluded that the last owner had relinquished his better fittings to sleep in a small room against unfinished decoration and coarse repair. Not only was the decoration left incomplete and abandoned altogether with the building of a new, coarsely finished east wall, but the subsequent occupancy of the room suggests downgraded circumstances as well. This confirms the activity recorded in room c. Either the owner had been forced to sleep in makeshift conditions, or someone else had taken this stately bed from elsewhere, presumably to sleep in it.

* The coarse plaster of the east wall actually overlays the fine plaster of the north wall in the northeast corner, not the south wall.


Stairway ST in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Stairway ST (figure D.147) led directly from the northeast corner of front hall b. The walls above the stairway were covered with fine white plaster. Underneath they were covered with coarse gray plaster.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

A breach in the east wall of the area under the stairs did not penetrate the wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The stairway had three masonry steps; presumably the rest had been of wood. No loose finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room l in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

This narrow room on the east side of front hall b was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the west wall. The walls were painted in the Fourth Style, consisting of a red socle with panels and plants, a yellow central zone with panels with ornamental borders and figures and a white upper zone with architectural elements, garlands, goats and peacocks. The central area of the south wall had probably been prepared for a central panel but this had never been painted (Strocka 1984b: pl. 53.1). The pavement was cocciopesto delineated and ornamented in white tesserae, forming a carpet with a net pattern of squares in the corners.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Two breaches were found in the south wall, one corresponding to a hole in room i, at a considerable height above the floor. The second hole in the south-east corner was made from this side as indicated by the score marks in the stone blocks which constitute the north-east corner of room i.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room provided access, on the north side to an understair cupboard that was furbished with coarse gray plaster. Two amphorae were found in this cupboard, one containing hazelnuts (Della Corte 1913:83). Along the east wall of the room was a wooden panelled bed (figure D.148). Other room contents included a patera and a forma di pasticceria.

Interpretations of room:

Strocka noted (1984b:128) that the coarse plaster under the stairs was similar to that of the front hall and the rear rooms of the house. It covered an earlier white plaster on the north wall. He also noted that, despite the apparently incomplete wall decoration, the presence of a bed showed the room had been ready for habitation before the decoration had been finished. As in room d there seems to have been evidence of sleeping in this room, after the incomplete decorating had been abandoned, implying downgraded occupancy. The storage of foodstuffs in an area only accessible from what is presumed to be a bedroom and some distance from the kitchen might seem curious. However, hazelnuts are not immediately perishable and might have been stored in this presumably cool place for a considerable period. Their discovery indicates that the occupants would not have had the time or the inclination to have taken all foodstuffs with them when they had abandoned the house. The association of the bed, the vessels and the hazelnuts either indicates that these vessels and consumables had been used in sleeping rooms or that they had been dislocated in this context (see room f in the Casa dei Ceii), as seemed to have been finds in rooms c, e and f.


Room i in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

This room on the east side of front hall b was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the center of the west wall. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone with a meander pattern, a red central zone with central aedicula and side fields separated by architectural openings with a white ground, and a white upper zone with figures and garlands amongst architectural elements (Strocka 1984b: Pls. 51.1-2, 52). The pavement consisted of a Second-Style mosaic with a border of black and white bands and a carpet pattern of rectangular colored pieces of marble.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Two patched breaches were found on the east wall, but they do not appear to have been made by intruders. One on the north wall is quite small (diameter: < 1 m) and quite high (1.66 m) above the floor (figure D.149).

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Strocka noted (1984b:127) that the decoration here was incomplete because it lacked floating figures in the side fields and no central panels had been painted. However, all the central fields were painted red without apparent preparation for central panels. Foss has suggested that this had been a "dinette."


Room h in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

This relatively narrow room on the east side of front hall b was entered from it through a narrow doorway in the center of the west wall. The walls were partially decorated with an upper zone in the Fourth Style, consisting of architectural elements with pergolae and garlands against a white background. The lower parts of the walls were covered in coarse plaster, implying that this wall decoration was incomplete (Strocka 1984b: Pl. 50.1-2). There is no record or visible evidence of a pavement in this room.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There were no breaches in the walls of this room but the southern half of the east wall was reconstructed after excavation, as was the upper west corner of the north wall above 1.6 m. Most of the material in this room was found in mixed volcanic deposit (Della Corte 1913:58), suggesting that it was disturbed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

All the finds were small and related to activities such as writing, gaming, and possibly toilet. It is conceivable that they had originated from the upper floor.

Interpretations of room:

According to Strocka (1984b:125﹣26), the decoration had been left unfinished with the Fourth Style in the upper zone and only base plaster for the central and socle zones. Strocka concluded that a hole in the middle of the north wall 1.5 m above the floor had been for scaffolding and that a mark in the middle of the south wall was the last hammer mark before work had been abandoned. However, he also observed that no building or painting material was found in this room, despite the unfinished state of its decoration. This suggests that the final eruption was not the cause of the restoration's abandonment. Strocka concluded (1984b:127) that the objects found in this room must have come from the front hall rubble or from the upper story, as this room had not been habitable. It seems that inhabitants who had been prepared to sleep in rooms d and l or to store their statuary and jewelry with furniture fittings in room c and in a cupboard in the room f would probably have been deterred from making use of this room as well, if it had been necessary. The finds appear to be luxury items. If they were from the upper story, then either they had been stored there or this part of the house had been inhabited. The only item that seems out of place in an upper floor is a marble statuette, but sculptural remains were also discovered in an upper-story context in House I 10,8.

* Although there is no record of these finds in the Giornali degli Scavi, it is evident that this house was being excavated on the day that they were recorded in the inventory as being from here.


Room e in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Room e (figure D.150) was a small space in the southwest corner of the front hall consisting mostly of a vaulted recess. It was entered from the latter through a doorway that constituted most of its north side. The vault and upper parts of the wall were stuccoed and painted in the Fourth Style with a cornice of ovoli and a blue frieze depicting scenes from the Iliad (Strocka 1984b: Pl. 59). Below the frieze the walls were covered with coarse base plaster. The pavement was of cocciopesto delineated and decorated in a rhomboid net pattern with white and black tesserae.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There are no definite signs of disturbance in this room.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only fixture was a platform that filled most of the room and constituted the base of the recess. The finds included two chests, both containing primarily glass vessels. They were mainly storage vessels, with some possible tableware.*

Interpretations of room:

Strocka noted (1984b:130) that the Fourth-Style decoration here was stylistically similar to that in the rest of the house. The unfinished state of this apparently religious area (Schefold 1957a:23; de Vos and de Vos 1982:105) implies that little effort had been devoted to maintaining this part of the house. The storage of glass vessels here, and possibly their contents, is not commensurate with this area's presumed sacred function, at least in the final occupation of the house. This storage no doubt postdated the unfinished decoration and continues the pattern of reuse, implying downgraded circumstances, seen in rooms c and d.


Room f in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Room f was a relatively large room to the south of front hall b. It was entirely open onto the latter on its north side, and a large window in the south wall overlooked courtyard m. The walls were covered with coarse plaster, and the pavement was of cocciopesto delineated and decorated in a rhomboid net pattern with white and black tesserae. There was also an earlier mosaic pavement in black tesserae at the north end.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Nearly all the finds from this room were from a piece of storage furniture in the southwest corner. Bronze ring handles and possibly bone furniture ornaments serve to identify this as a wooden cupboard (GdSc A,VI,6:78; Della Corte 1913:29﹣30). The contents consisted predominantly of small glass storage vessels (less than 15 cm high); four caskets, one of which had ivory and silver fittings and contained jewelry (Della Corte 1913: Figs. 3﹣4) and part of a set of scales; and lamina described as being like parchment (GdSc A,VI,6:80). Two wooden implements were found one on top of the other with the concave sides uppermost (Della Corte 1913:Fig. 2). Two iron and ivory furniture legs were found in a horizontal position one on top of the other (GdSc A,VI,6:78), suggesting that they were not fittings for the cupboard. From their description, they were seemingly similar to those in room d and hence more appropriate for a bed or chair than for a cupboard. This implies that they had been stored here either as spare parts or as precious commodities. This is reminiscent of room c in this house and of room 36 in the Casa del Menandro. The other finds further to the north of these could also have been from this cupboard. They included two bronze vessels, one substantial; nine glass storage vessels; and a circular lock plate that seems from its dimensions and description to be a furniture fitting. Fish bones were found in one of the vessels as in the front hall.

Interpretations of room:

Both Strocka (1984b:130) and Della Corte (1913:28) observed that the decoration of this room had been left unfinished, with the walls covered in base plaster. Strocka commented that in material and quality this plaster was similar to the unfinished plaster in the front hall on the south wall and in the southwest area and that in corridor g. This could equally have been a coarse finish, as in room d. Whichever was the case, it seems that this room, like room c, had not been functioning as traditionally believed (Mau 1899:257). Strocka noted (1984b:130) a similar combination of furnishings with unfinished decoration in the front hall and room f. The combination of storage, especially that of jewelry and spare parts, in an ivory decorated cupboard in a coarsely finished or unfinished room, suggests disrupted living circumstances.


Corridor g in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Corridor g led from the southeast corner of front hall b to the northeast corner of courtyard m. The walls were covered with coarse plaster. The pavement was of cocciopesto delineated and decorated in black and white tesserae with a rhomboid net pattern. This pavement was partially covered at the south end by a coarser pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only find here was a small bead.

Interpretations of room:

Strocka concluded (1984b:130) that this corridor, like room f and the front hall, was in a partially decorated state. The coarse plaster on both walls was either base plaster or a service covering, but the coarse pavement over an earlier mosaic suggests that this corridor had been downgraded.


Courtyard m in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Courtyard m consisted of an ambulatory on each side with an open garden area at the center. It was entered from the northeast corner through corridor g. Rooms n and o opened off the east side and room r and area s off the south side. The walls had been furbished with fine plaster. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This courtyard had a recessed area in the northwest corner, which had a stairway. The scant finds in this courtyard included piles of building material along the east wall (figure D.151 and figure D.154) and under the stairway in the northwest corner (figure D.152). The former has been identified as gypsum to be powdered for making new plaster (Della Corte 1913:356; Adam 1984, Fig. 157).* It is difficult to see any direct association between this material and the amphorae found nearby, or the hammer-headed axe and travertine weight found along the north wall.

Interpretations of room:

The traces of fine plaster on the north wall preceded the wall plaster in corridor g. Strocka (1984b:131) dated the evidence of repair preparation in the back of the house to AD 79. There is no definite evidence of work actually being carried out in the house at the time of the eruption. On the contrary, the repair work seems to have been roughly executed or left incomplete for some time and the rooms subsequently occupied. If the gypsum here had been associated with repair work, then it may have remained in the courtyard for some time after the repair work had either been completed or abandoned. Thus, the usual activities of this courtyard must have been restricted for at least as long as the house had remained partially repaired but had continued to be inhabited.

* This material has been positively identified by Peter Grave (University of New England) using energy dispersive spectrometry.


Room n in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Room n was on the east side of courtyard m (figure D. 154) and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the north end of the west wall. There was no record of wall decoration or pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No breaches were evident in the walls of this room. The discovery of cooking vessels on the hearth and on a tripod (Della Corte 1913:358) implies that it could have remained largely undisturbed after the eruption.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The fixtures included a bench, identified as a cooking hearth, along the east wall (Della Corte 1913:357; figure D.153) and a latrine in the southeast corner. Vessels, found mainly on the hearth or along the north wall, were of bronze or ceramic. The majority were large basins or pots that can be identified as vessels for preparing or cooking food or for containing liquids. The other finds in the room included and iron tripod and two marble supports, found on the bench and no doubt for the vessels, and two truncated amphorae.

Interpretations of room:

There seems little reason to doubt that this room had been used as a kitchen for cooking. Two truncated amphorae in the northwest corner had been adapted as ovens, according to Della Corte (1913:359; see room m' in House I 7,19). The vessels on or near the bench, particularly the tripod on top of it supporting a fire-blackened bronze cooking pot, suggest that this room had been left as a functioning kitchen at the time of its abandonment. That no attempt had been made to store the objects suggests that abandonment had been fairly rapid. The abandonment of the kitchen and the cessation of the redecorating must have resulted from events other than those that caused the more laborious and time-consuming storage in the front hall and rooms c, e, and f.


Room o in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Room o opened off the east side of courtyard m and was entered from it through a narrow doorway in the center of the west wall. There was no record of wall decoration or pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only finds in this room consisted of a pile of building material, possibly gypsum, in the northeast corner (figure D.154).

Interpretations of room:

The presence of this building material suggests that this room was not being used for its intended function at the time of the eruption. Strocka argued (1984b:131) that this material belonged with the evidence for replastering in the back of the house, which he dated to AD 79. There seems little direct evidence to substantiate this dating except as an obvious terminus ante quem.


Room r in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Room r opened off the southeast corner of courtyard m and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the east end of the north wall. It also had a doorway in the center of the east wall leading to room p. The walls were coarsely plastered (Strocka 1984b:131). There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The west wall of this room had a small breach.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The south end of the east wall had a rectangular niche. No loose finds were reported here.

Interpretations of room:

None


Room p in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

This large room in the southeast corner of the house was entered from room r through a narrow doorway in the north end of the west wall. The west, north, and east walls of this room were decorated in the Second Style. The painting on the east wall depicted two life-sized elephants ridden by cupids, against a background of architectural elements (figure D.155). The decoration on the north and west walls depicted life-sized seated figures, also against an architectural background. The south ends of the west and east walls were decorated with simple ashlar blocks or orthostats. The south wall was covered with coarse gray plaster. The pavement at the north end consisted of a mosaic of black and white tesserae with a polychrome marble tesserae in the form of geometric patterns inside nine squares. At the south end the pavement was plain white mosaic corresponding to the simpler decoration at the south end of the east and west walls.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

The coarse plaster on the south wall and in the southeast corner and related construction of this wall indicate that this room had been part of the Casa del Criptiportico when it had been decorated in the Second Style. Either this part had been acquired by the owner of the Casa del Sacello Iliaco or the whole of this latter house once belonged to the Casa del Criptoportico and had been in the process of being converted into the Fourth Style at some stage prior to the eruption. It would seem that the redecoration of rooms p and q had not been considered necessary, despite the contrast between their coarsely plastered south wall and the elaborate Second-Style decoration on the other walls. This suggests downgraded circumstances after this conversion. Maiuri argued (1942:148) that this room and room q would have been redecorated in the Fourth Style had the eruption not interrupted the refurbishing program, but this does not explain the coarse plastering at the southern end, which does not appear to have been a base plaster. For reasons related to his dating of the restoration material found in courtyard m, room o, and area s, Strocka (1984b:131) concluded that the entranceway to the south had been blocked and roughly plastered after the AD 62 earthquake. There is no means for establishing the relationship between the building activity in this latter area and the plastering on the southern side of the house. What can be established is that the refurbishers had not intended to redecorate these rooms to their former status. As these rooms were only accessible through courtyard m, it is likely that their occupancy had similarly been disrupted while building material had been left there.


Room q in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Room q was to the south of room r and entered from room p through a narrow doorway at the south end of the east wall. Its walls were decorated in a Second Style, which was principally monochrome red with green pilasters and separated the room into a main section at the north end and anticamera at the south end. The socle zone consisted of rows of ashlar blocks, the central zone had orthostats with a cornice of ovoli, and the frieze had a meander pattern and Nereids on hippocampi. The pavement consisted of a black and white mosaic decorated with colored marble tesserae and separated the room as the wall painting.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

As mentioned above, Strocka dated the blocking of the southern entrance and the entrance in the west wall to area s after the AD 62 earthquake based on the material remains in associated areas. However, the latter must have been blocked before the vaulted oven in the southeast corner of area s had been built.


Area s in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

This area in the southwest area of the house (figure D.156) was entered from courtyard m through a narrow doorway in the center of the north wall. There is no record of any wall covering or pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

A large breach in the center of the west wall and a smaller one in the east wall indicate that this area may have been disturbed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds have been interpreted as material and implements (a mortar and a wooden mallet) for plastering (see Pompeii photo archive negative C/733; Della Corte 1913:356). According to Della Corte, a considerable quantity of gypsum was found in the large mortar, which had probably been used for grinding it. The structure in the southeast corner has been interpreted as an oven for preparing gypsum (Adam 1984:74, Fig. 156).

Interpretations of room:

At some stage, this area had been used for the preparation of plaster. Strocka again dated this activity to shortly before AD 79. However, the evidence in the front hall and in rooms d and f and in the combination of room n and corridor g suggests that refurbishing of the house might have terminated before its final occupation phase and possibly some time prior to the final eruption. Thus, it is conceivable that this area had not been in use during the final occupancy, the building material restricting any activity. Alternatively, the plastering materials may have been prepared commercially in this house, but it is more likely that such activity would have been carried out in the house actually being decorated (Adam 1984:74﹣75). Therefore, this activity very probably predated the final occupancy of the house.


Room s1 in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

Room s1 was in the southwest corner of area s and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the east side. There is no record of any wall covering or pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Upper Levels in Casa del Sacello Iliaco

Description of room:

The stairways ST and in the northeast corner of courtyard m indicate that this house probably had upper-story rooms along the south, east, and possibly north sides of the front hall.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The evidence of disturbed volcanic deposit in parts of the house implies that some of the finds above pavement level could have originated from the lower floor.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Most of objects found in upper levels of the volcanic deposit were fairly precious and small (for example, lamps, counters, cosmetic items and beads), although there seems to have been a num ber of ceramic vessels as well. The similarly small and precious objects found in room h could have also have originated from the upper floor.

Interpretations of room:

The upper-level assemblages are comparable to those in the upper stories of other houses and would not seem out of place in upper-story rooms. All that can be concluded, however, is that no attempt had been made to clear out this material at the time of abandonment. It seems that the upper-story had been suitable either for storage or for occupation up until the eruption, unless the final occupation had been so disrupted that this material had lain untouched as rubbish and debris from an earlier occupation