Information concerning the rooms in House I 10,8

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Entranceway a
Front hall 01
Room 02
Room 03
Room 04
Area 05
Room 13
Corridor 14
Room 06
Corridor 07
Room 08
Room 09
Room 10
Garden 11
Room 12
Upper Levels

Entranceway a in House I 10,8

Description of room:

The only entrance to this house led from the street to the north of this insula into front hall 01. The walls were decorated with a high pink socle delineated in red and with a white zone above (Elia 1934:308). The pavement was cocciopesto (Ling 1997:290).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Breaches were found in both the east and west walls of the entranceway.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A masonry seat stood on each side of the entrance (figure D.75). The only loose finds are what were probably the bronze bosses of the house door.

Interpretations of room:

It is perhaps noteworthy that this relatively small house had masonry seats, presumed to be for waiting clients, outside this entranceway.


Front hall 01 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This front hall (figure D.76) was entered from the north through entranceway a. Room 02 opened off it in the northeast corner, room 04 off the east side, and rooms 06 and 08 and corridor 07 off the south side. The walls had once been plastered and that in front of room 06 also had also had a painted decoration (Ling 1997:290). The pavement was of cocciopesto overlaid with lavapesta (Ling 1997:290).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

A breach in the northwest corner, above a blocked doorway, went through to shop I 10,9.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This front hall had a central water-catchment pool, impluvium, made of Nuceria tufa (Elia 1934:Fig. 25; Ling 1997:290 Pl. 100). The finds from the east side-four bone hinges, bronze bosses, and a lock-indicate that a chest had been placed under the window to room 04 (Elia 1934:317). No contents were reported from this chest, although a glass bottle and five bronze coins reportedly from the northeast corner may have been associated with it. Fragments of a marble table were found near the entrance to room 04 not far from this chest. In the same area, although not definitely in the front hall, were found other chest fittings, a ceramic krater, a bronze basin possibly for washing (Elia 1934:Fig. 28), and a simple lamp. These objects were perhaps associated with the chest or the table.

In the northwest corner were further fittings, a bronze ring and a bronze boss, possibly from a chest or cupboard. Associated with them were a stone mortar fragment, six glass beads, a conch shell, and two coins. If the mortar was indeed from the container, this is comparable to the storage pattern in the front hall of the Casa del Fabbro. The other finds are objects that would have been easy to lose.

One meter from the west side of the impluvium were found: fifty-three lead weights (figure D.77), probably from a loom; two large stone weights; part of a hand mill; and possibly two stone bowls. The large quantity of loom weights most probably attests to the presence of at least one loom, although conceivably these were replacement weights (see Jongman 1988:163).

Interpretations of room:

This front hall seems to have been furnished with cupboards or chests (see the Casa del Fabbro and Casa della Venere in Bikini) and possibly even a marble table (see the Casa del Fabbro). The table was not at the head of the impluvium, however, and the finds on the west side indicate a more industrial/commercial use or possibly a domestic enterprise. A similar quantity (fifty-four) of weights were found under the stairway in room i of the Casa del Principe di Napoli. The only comparable group listed by John Peter Wild (1970:137, Table M) was forty loom weights found together in a pit at Zugmantel. As Willem Jongman noted (1988:163), the quantity of loom weights found here would be equivalent to that required for one or perhaps two warp-weighted looms (for example, Wild 1970: Pl. 10a-b). This quantity is therefore commensurate with the existence of such looms in this area for domestic use. The associated objects, however, seem unrelated to weaving but were perhaps used in food preparation or building and refurbishing activity. According to Elia (1934:309), the white plaster of the last phase of decoration, as in the Casa del Fabbro, indicates the rusticity and impoverishment of this front hall.


Room 02 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This room was in the northeast corner of front hall 01 and was open for all of its south side to this front hall. It had a doorway in the east side leading to room 03. The walls were covered with coarse plaster over an earlier painted plaster, and the pavement was of cocciopesto painted red (Ling 1997:291).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room had breaches or attempts to make breaches in all walls, indicating that itpresumably had suffered disturbance.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The base of a vase, reportedly containing slaked lime, and a simple lamp were found in the northwest corner. An organic object, possibly a basket, holding a cake of rosin was found on the floor against the west wall.

Interpretations of room:

According to Elia (1934:309), this was a spacious oecus with the latest decoration consisting of simple white plaster. A low narrow entrance had also been cut in the east wall to room 03. The unpainted walls and the presence of the slaked lime and rosin suggest that this room, which judging from its pavement had once been formally decorated, had subsequently been downgraded to a more utilitarian function. Ling suggested (1997:171﹣72, 290) that it was an exedra which may have been converted into a workroom.


Room 03 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This narrow room was in the northeast corner of the house and entered from room 02 through a low, narrow doorway in the center of its west wall. It had a window opening to room 04 in the center of the south wall. The walls were painted in the Third Style, consisting of flat architectonic elements and landscape vignettes on a white ground. The pavement was of cocciopesto (Ling 1997:291).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room had breaches in its east, south, and west walls, which suggest disturbance.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The room contained one small ceramic vase and two lids, the remains of a mirror, possibly the remains of a small coffer, and a base, probably from a miniature statuette. Other finds included the remains of a bronze tube, possibly a casing, and three volcanic stone blocks, reportedly floor polishers.

Interpretations of room:

According to Elia (1934:309﹣10), this was a cubiculum (see also Ling 1997:171) decorated in the Fourth Style, and the window in the south wall had been closed in the last phase. Ling noted (1997:291), however, that its decoration was in the late Third Style. The presence of the stone blocks suggests utilitarian storage or downgrading after the function for which this decoration was intended.


Room 04 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This was the largest covered room in the house. It was to the east of front hall 01 and was entered from it through a narrow doorway in the south end of the west wall. A window in the center of the west wall overlooked front hall 01. The walls were coarsely plastered, and the pavement was of cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

According to the Giornali degli Scavi, this room had five large breaches in the walls. Only two breaches in the east wall and one in the northwest corner are now visible.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The ash against the original entrance to room 03 in the north wall (Elia 1934:310, Fig. 23) preserved the imprint of a chest. Its lid was painted red and it had internal compartments (GdSc A,VI,7:255). Nothing was recorded from it. Near the entrance were found a number of fittings that might have belonged to the door to the front hall. Other finds in this room consisted of a large glass storage flask, an amphora, another sizable ceramic vessel, possibly seven bronze coins, and what would appear to be a marble pavement fragment.

Interpretations of room:

Elia suggested (1934:312) that this room was probably destined to be a work room or officina but that the transformation was incomplete at the time of the eruption and so the pavement of coarse cocciopesto and the rough plaster on the walls remained (see Ling 1997:172). However, it seems unlikely that, if the room were being renovated, the chest would have remained at the north end. The imprint postdates the plaster on this wall, indicating that it had been installed after the plastering. Indications of a socle zone suggest that the refurbishing might have been complete in its coarse state. The slab of yellow marble was probably not intended for that refurbishing. This possibly presents us with another example of the salvaging of marble fragments (see hall 41 and room 43 in the Casa del Menandro), perhaps for restoration in other parts of the house or as a commodity.


Area 05 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This small courtyard in the southeast corner of front hall 01 was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the north end of the west wall. Rooms 13 and 14 opened off its south side. The north wall, at least, was plastered and the pavement was of rammed earth with a signinum guttering (Ling 1997:293).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphic information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This area had a stairway along the west wall. The space underneath was probably originally intended as a cupboard but had later been walled up (Elia 1933:Fig. 24; Ling 1997: Pls. 95 and 109). In the northeast corner was a recess from which cocciopesto channels ran along the north and east walls. No loose finds were recorded.

Interpretations of room:

This area was referred to as a terrazzino (small terrace) in the Giornali degli Scavi (A,VI,7:290), with a beaten earth floor. Elia's description (1934:312) seems to indicate that it had not been roofed (see Ling 1997:173). The location of the recess in the northeast corner and its association with these channels mean it was not a bed recess.


Room 13 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This small room was to the south of courtyard 05. It was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the middle of its north wall, under the stairway in courtyard 05. The walls were plastered, and the floor was of either rammed earth or mortar.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No direct evidence of intrusion into this space exists. Its inaccessibility would render disruption after the eruption unlikely.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

There is a recess in the north-west corner. One ceramic basin and two amphorae were found here.

Interpretations of room:

This space appears to have been an understair cupboard (Elia 1934:312). The recess was perhaps created to provide more storage space or to fit some other type of furniture. Ling identified it as a storeroom (1997:173, 296). The paucity of stored remains compared with rooms 08 and 12 suggests that it had been used for minor storage or for organic material, if it was in use at all at the time of the eruption.


Corridor 14 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This long narrow area opened from the southeast corner of courtyard 05. There is no record or evidence of wall decoration. The pavement was probably of rammed earth (Ling 1997:173).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

A breach in the east wall of this room provided a route through to room 09 in the Casa del Fabbro.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This area had a recess towards the north end of the west wall. It seems too high for a bed recess and the space too narrow and inappropriate for a bed. A downpipe to the upper floor and the remains of a latrine were found at the southern end of this room (Elia 1934:312). No loose finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

This area apparently led to the latrine. Whether this area was functioning immediately prior to the eruption is impossible to judge from the fixtures alone. The lack of material in rooms 05 and 13 perhaps points to its abandonment prior to the eruption.


Room 06 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This room was to the south of front hall 01 and was entered from it through a narrow doorway towards the west end of the north wall. The walls had Fourth-Style decoration, consisting of a white socle zone with ornamental bands and animal motifs and upper friezes of plants, birds on garlands, shortened candelabra, and ornamental panels on a white ground. There seems to have been a mortar pavement at one time that was probably only a remnant at the time of the eruption (Ling 1997:293).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The breach in the south wall indicates that this room had probably been disturbed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The room was furnished with a low, wide bed along the south wall. Traces of wooden furniture, possibly two small chests, were found against the north wall near the northeast corner and in the northwest corner. The Giornali degli Scavi reported a lamp stopper, two small bronze tripod stands (Elia 1934:Fig. 28), and a coin from the northwest corner. These might have been associated with one of the chests.* The bronze tripod stands were perhaps lamp-stands (see Wikander 1989:31﹣34). An amphora was found near the entranceway, and two slabs of worked marble were found in the southeast corner.

Interpretations of room:

According to Elia (1934:313), this room was a cubiculo diurno with decoration of the last phase of the city, judging from its freshness. Ling argued (1997:193, 196) that the room had been created after AD 62 and decorated not long before AD 79 (1997:172). The size of the house and the lack of other apparent bedrooms, at least on the ground floor, might lead one to suspect that this house was not of sufficient grandeur to have had separate night and day bedrooms. The bed suggests that this room had indeed been used for sleeping in the final phase of occupation. Room 43 in the Casa del Menandro was likewise a bedroom with chests, but the latter also contained a great variety of other material. Chests were more usually part of the furniture of front halls or gardens. A storage amphora might also seem an improbable piece of bedroom equipment (but see room UU in the Casa di Julius Polybius), as might two worked marble slabs. The latter at least suggest that disrupted and perhaps downgraded conditions occurred after AD 62 (using Ling's date) but prior to the eruption.

* According to Elia (1934:318), these finds were from the lapilli above the bed, but the Giornali degli Scavi gives no evidence for this location.


Corridor 07 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This corridor led from the south side of front hall 01 to room 09. The walls were plastered, but no record or evidence of a pavement exists (Ling 1997:293).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphic information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room 08 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This room in the southwest corner of front hall 01 was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway towards the western end of the north wall. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style (Ling 1997:173, 196) on a white ground above a high red socle that had been preceded by a decoration on a purple-red ground (Elia 1934:314; Ling 1997:294). The pavement was of mortar (Ling 1997:294).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The west end of the south wall had a breach.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Holes and nails in the walls indicate that this room might have had shelves or at least hooks from which to hang some of its contents. In the northeast corner were bronze fittings, possibly from armour (Elia 1934:Fig. 29); four ceramic vessels-a small amphora, a jug, a small smoke-blackened pot, and a jar; three knives (Elia 1934:Fig. 28); and a hoe. Further finds near the south wall included one large bone hinge; three ceramic vessels-a bowl containing slaked lime, another small amphora, and a small terra sigillata cup; one hand mill; one travertine weight; possibly an anchor; a large square marble base; a shell; and a basalt pebble. A fire-blackened terra-cotta platform, reportedly from a fornello, was discovered near the northwest corner.

Interpretations of room:

On the basis of the numerous breaches and nails in the walls and the quantity of contents found in the volcanic material, Elia concluded that this twice-decorated room had subsequently been adapted as a storeroom (see room 43 in the Casa del Menandro). Ling believed (1995:172, 196, 203) that it had been downgraded from a bedroom into a storeroom, presumably at a phase later than its final Fourth-Style decoration, which he dated after AD 62. The majority of finds imply general domestic storage. Some of the objects, notably the weight and hand mill, recall those found immediately outside this room on the west side of the front hall. A bowl filled with slaked lime and a large marble base, possibly for a statue, and an anchor would not seem the expected finds in a domestic storage area, however. While the lime might have had some building-repair purpose, its relatively small quantity suggests it perhaps had a more domestic and everyday use. The marble base recalls the marble fragments from room H in the Casa di Julius Polybius and hall 41 in the Casa del Menandro. Such material was probably not stored during the eruption, so its presence could indicate salvaging during an earlier period.


Room 09 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This relatively narrow space (figure D.78) led from corridor 07 to garden 11. A doorway in the south end of the east wall led to room 10. The walls had been plastered, and the pavement was of cocciopesto (Ling 1997:294).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The breach in the north wall implies that intruders might have passed into or out of this area through room 08.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The fixtures here consisted of a bench against the north wall, a cistern head towards the southern end, and a downpipe made of amphorae from the floor above room 10 (Elia 1934:Fig. 27). The only loose finds were two ceramic jars, one containing vegetal material, and a support for a marble table or fountain.

Interpretations of room:

The presence of a bench suggests that this area had been used for cooking (see Elia 1934:314; Ling 1997:173). In this sample of houses, this was the only cooking area with permanent fixtures in an access route. The lack of evidence of kitchen activities could be explained by post-eruption disturbance, but cooking utensils were probably not attractive to intruders. Because this area had also been a thoroughfare, conceivably the occupants would have been more fastidious about keeping it tidy and put their cooking vessels away in room 08. However, no tripods or similar cooking apparatus were recorded in either location.

The marble support had conceivably been placed here either during the eruption or by intruders after the eruption. It was more likely, however, to have been put here prior to the eruption. The lack of other comparable remains, except the statue base in room 08, suggests that this house had not been furnished with such fittings but rather that the last occupants salvaged them from elsewhere (see statuary in the Casa della Venere in Bikini and in hall 41 and garden c of the Casa del Menandro). While the evidence is not conclusive, this house's kitchen might not have been fully functioning at the time of the eruption (see room Nk in the Casa di Julius Polybius).


Room 10 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This large room on the north side of garden 11 had a large window in its south wall overlooking the garden. A narrow doorway at the south end of its west wall provided access from room 09. The walls were decorated in the Third Style (Ling 1997:295) with a black socle zone, a central zone of red fields with a central aedicula, and a white upper zone in the northern area and a red socle zone with black central fields in the southern area. The pavement was of red-painted cocciopesto (Ling 1997:295).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room has a breach in the east end of the north wall through to room 06.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The room contained a number of bone fittings presumably belonging to a cupboard in the northeast corner. Two seashells, a ceramic lamp, and a bronze finger ring were perhaps associated with this cupboard. Unlike the furniture in rooms 04 and 06, no impression of this cupboard was recorded. Either it had been disturbed after the eruption or these objects fell from the upper floor. Four wooden pommels found near the entrance to room 09 were perhaps from another piece of furniture in this room or in the one above. Building material in the form of reportedly slaked lime and crushed bricks was reported in this room, in association with a hand mill and possibly a stone bowl containing red powder. Four inscribed amphorae and a ceramic jug were also found here.

Interpretations of room:

Ling suggested (1997:173, 294) that this was a reception or dining room facing the garden and had been created during the Third-Style period (first half of the first century AD). According to Elia (1934:315), it had a Fourth-Style decoration already in a very ruined state at the time of the eruption, and restoration material had been deposited here. Ling is correct that its final decoration was in the Third Style, however. The finds from this room reflect the finds of slaked lime in rooms 02 and 08 and hand mills in the front hall and room 08. The rosin in room 02 was perhaps associated with the same activity. It is difficult to determine what this activity had been, although the crushed bricks could have been used for making cocciopesto pavements, waterproof mortar, or wall plaster (for use in mortar: Duch 1966:269﹣75; for use in plaster: Vitruvius 7, 4; Barbet and Allag 1972:954﹣58, 967﹣69; Grave in Allison and Sear 2002). As Elia concluded that this activity was apparently related to refurbishing. It must postdate the room's decoration, because Elia noted that this was already in a ruined state prior to the eruption. Whether this material had been for refurbishing this room or for other industrial purposes is unclear, but in either case, this room did not have a formal function at the time of the eruption.


Garden 11 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This open area to the south of the house was entered through room 09 and provided access to room 12, on its north side. The walls were plastered, but no record or evidence of a pavement exists (Ling 1997:295).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphic information.i

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The east wall of the garden had a niche, possibly a lararium, with traces of painted decoration (Ling 1997:173, 295). A number of small ceramic vases, fragments of other vessels, and one ceramic dolium were found in the northeast corner.

Interpretations of room:

Ling suggested (1983a:49) that this garden had been created during the Third-Style period, with the other formal areas of this house and the Casa del Fabbro. The east wall showed traces of a previous decoration that had been chiseled. The finds did not seem to indicate a functioning formal garden. The presence of ceramic storage vessels might seem unexpected (but see the garden areas of Houses I 6,8-9 and I 7,19, the Casa dei Quadretti Teatrali, Casa del Sacerdos Amandus, Casa dell'Efebo, and Casa del Fabbro), and small ceramic vessels seem out of place in a formal garden. The downgrading noted in room 10 is possibly repeated here.


Room 12 in House I 10,8

Description of room:

This relatively small closed room in the northeast corner of garden 11 was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the center of the south wall. The pavement was of cocciopesto (Ling 1997:295), but no record or evidence of wall decoration exists.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No breaches suggesting disturbance are noticeable in this room.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A large quantity of domestic material was found here, possibly on shelving, which is evident from the numerous impressions of wooden planks in the wall plaster. Thirteen whole ceramic vessels were recorded here: nine small storage jars and jugs, one abbeveratoio, two lids, one wine amphora, a terra sigillata bowl; and a patera; and many fragmentary ones. Finds also included a bronze casseruola (Elia 1934:Fig. 28), a bronze cooking pot, a bronze patera handle, a small glass flask, and probably the remains of other glass vessels. The casseruola had traces of silver, indicating that it was a luxury vessel. Numerous other items, probably associated with toilet activities, needlework, gaming, and music (Elia 1934:Fig. 28), and jewelry were found, as were a bronze oval handle and a ring handle from a wooden container, a large pestle and mortar, six ceramic lamps and a bronze lamp-stand, a bronze fishhook, an iron pick, an iron hammer, an iron awl, and many other bronze and iron fragments.

Interpretations of room:

According to Elia (1934:316), this was an apotheca that might once have been a Second-Style cubiculum connected to room 10 (see also Ling 1997:173, 295). The finds indeed show that it was being used for storage at the time of the eruption. Perhaps the room had been converted from a cubiculum into a sort of pantry for the triclinium. Some of the finds suggest that it held dining equipment, but a greater mixture of material had also been deposited here, from toiletries and jewelry to iron tools, fishing equipment, and more evidence of grinding, which could have resulted from several phases of storage (see room EE in the Casa di Julius Polybius). This room seems to have been a deposit for material from all the activities in the house. Panic hoarding during the eruption probably does not account for the storage of many of these items. Rather this storage was more probably been an earlier clearance. Storage of cooking vessels and iron tools, for example, would not seem to be last minute clearing, especially as the kitchen itself is closer to storeroom 08 and empty of evidence of recent activity. Therefore, many of these items had probably been stored away prior to the final eruption, perhaps when neighbouring room 10 was given over to more utilitarian purposes or repair work.


Upper Levels in House I 10,8

Description of room:

The stairway in courtyard 05 indicates that this house had upper-story rooms. Ling (1997:177) has proposed upper level rooms above rooms 06-08, 10, and 14.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The discovery of a fragment of a tufa column in mixed volcanic deposit to the south of the front hall is the only reference to disturbance of the upper levels of the volcanic deposit covering this house (GdSc A,VI,7:243).

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Other finds from the upper levels were mainly above corridor 07 and room 10. At a height of 0.4 m above the pavement of corridor 07 were found a fragment of a sculptured and stuccoed terra-cotta panel, a terra-cotta protome of a Maenad, and a ceramic lamp. Two terra sigillata vessels and a clay loom weight were found above the northwest corner of room 10, possibly in close proximity to the finds above corridor 07. As already mentioned, some of the finds in the lower levels of room 10 could have fallen from the floor above.

Interpretations of room:

According to Elia (1934:312), there were rooms in the upper floor to the south of area 05. She suggested that the upper floor above rooms 06, 10 and 12, from which the finds appear to have come, had been a mezzanine with rustic storage rooms and slaves' quarters (see also Ling 1997:177). If slaves did indeed have possessions, they were probably not of the character of some of the finds here. Rather, these are reminiscent of the assemblage in room A' of the Casa di Julius Polybius