Information concerning the rooms in House VI 15,5

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Entranceway a
Room p
Room q
Front hall b
Room d
Room e
Room f
Room g
Room f or g
Room o
Room n
Room n or o
Room m
Room l
Room i
Room h
Room k
Garden u
Room v
Room w
Room z
Corridor y
Room x
Room 01
Area 02
Room 03
Room 04
Room 05
Room 06
Upper Levels

Entranceway a in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Entranceway a led from the street to the east of this insula to front hall b. Room p opened off its north side. The walls were furbished with a black socle zone and coarse unfinished plaster (Mau 1898:12). There is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Mau (1898:12) has argued that the construction of the left jamb dates after AD 62.


Room p in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room p was a relatively large room on the north side of entranceway a and entered from it through a narrow doorway in the center of the south wall. There is no record or visible evidence of the wall covering or pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The loose finds included three bone ornaments, reportedly from a bed; a repaired bronze vase; a ceramic vase; a bone needle; a conch shell; two ceramic lamps; and seven glass beads.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:12), this had formerly been a shop with a stairway giving direct access from the street to the upper floor, but the two entrances, one wide one to the street and one narrow one in the north end of the east wall to the stairway, had subsequently been walled up. The finds suggest that this room may have contained a decorated bed and women's personal items. These might not seem the usual finds for such an area, although they are comparable to those found in room 01 of the Casa del Menandro just inside the entranceway to the house.


Room q in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

This small space was in the northwest corner of room p and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the east end of the south wall. The walls were plastered. There is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room had been a latrine. No loose finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None


Front hall b in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Front hall b was entered from entranceway a from the east and provided access to the garden area to the west. Room d opened off its east side; rooms l, m, n, and o off the north side; room i off the west side; and rooms e, f, and g off the south side. The walls were undecorated (Sogliano 1897:22). The pavement was in cocciopesto with scattered fragments of colored marble.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The central water-catchment pool (impluvium) was furbished in tufa. In the east wall the north of entranceway a was a painted lararium aedicula containing three niches (figure D.179). In it were found a small ceramic cup, an iron razor, and four coins. A wooden cupboard stood in the northeast corner of this front hall. It contained two bronze casseruola; a bronze jug; two bronze vases; a bronze forma di pasticceria; four glass storage flasks; seven glass bowls and cups; a glass plate; four small glass bottles; two ceramic cups; a bronze strigil; a small bone spoon; two bronze seals, one inscribed "TITIANAE SATURNI" and the other "L. SEPUN(I) SYMPHRON(IS)" (Anonymous 1896:228); a small bronze weight; a gold pearl; and the glass inlay possibly from a ring.

Interpretations of room:

Although the walls had been undecorated at the time of the eruption, Sogliano noted (1897:22) that the lararium was plastered and painted. The finds in the lararium may have had some religious significance but this is not necessarily the case. Such an assemblage can either give us more insight into household religious practices or indicate that this fixture did not have a religious function at the time of the eruption. The finds from the cupboard in the northeast corner consisted of domestic apparatus. As such, the assemblage is reminiscent of those found in many of the front halls in this study. The activities represented seem diverse, but many objects appear to have been fairly personal items. Like the front halls of the Casa del Sacello Iliaco and the Casa del Fabbro, this front hall may have been functioning at the time of the eruption. The fact that it was not decorated conceivably suggests a downgraded occupancy.


Room d in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room d was a relatively large room in the southeast corner of front hall b and entered from it through a narrow doorway in the north end of the west wall. The walls were coarsely plastered. There is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:12), this had formerly been a shop accessible from the street.


Room e in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room e was on the south side of front hall b and was entered from it through a narrow doorway towards the west end of the north wall. The walls were decorated with a red compartmentalized socle, which was probably poorly preserved at the time of the eruption. The pavement was in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A low recess with a central block stood in the west end of the south wall (figure D.180). No loose finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:13), this room was a cubiculum.


Room f in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room f was on the south side of front hall b and was entered from it through a narrow doorway towards the center of the north wall. The walls were decorated with a paratactic scheme of a purple compartmentalized socle zone and a central zone of yellow fields with ornamental borders and central panels. The pavement was in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

See room f or g.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:13), this was a cubiculum.


Room g in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room g was on the south side of front hall b and was fully open onto it along its north side. The walls were decorated in the First Style (Sogliano 1897:22), consisting of large ashlar blocks divided by yellow bands. The pavement was in cocciopesto ornamented with lines of white tesserae and a central design of meander patterns, also in white tesserae.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

As well as the possible finds ( see room f or g), a pile of pozzolana was reported from here.

Interpretations of room:

This room has been identified as an ala (Sogliano 1897:22). The presence of building material suggests that it had gone out of habitual use and had either been awaiting repair or used to store building material.


Room f or g in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

See room f and room g.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The reports do not make clear whether a ceramic jar and a ceramic lamp were from room f or the adjoining room g.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room o in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room o was in the northeast corner of front hall b and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the south wall. The walls were decorated in the First Style with a yellow central zone and a stuccoed cornice. There is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

There was a breach in the north end of the west wall of this room.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Finds were recorded from either this room or room n (see room n or o).

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:13), this room was a cubiculum. The finds, that were either from this room or room n, had conceivably been held in a storage container. The assemblage is very similar to that in the cupboard in the front hall, except that it would appear to have included more objects pertaining to spinning, toiletry, and gaming. However, both appear to represent the same storage phase, although the front hall had been left undecorated. This room or room n may have been a habitual storeroom, or one of the side rooms might have been used as a storeroom because circumstances had prohibited more usual front-hall storage.


Room n in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room n was on the north side of front hall b and was entered from it through a narrow doorway in the south wall. The walls were decorated in the Second Style, consisting of a red socle zone and a central zone with an aedicula, and dividing the room into two sections (Mau 1898:13). The pavement was in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room had two breaches, one in the north end of the east wall and one in the north end of the west wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Finds were recorded from either this room or room n (see room n or o).

Interpretations of room:

Mau identified (1898:13) this room as a barrel-vaulted cubiculum. See interpretation for room o.


Room n or o in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

See room n and room o.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A number of finds were reported from either room o or room n. They included two bronze casseruola; a small bronze amphora; a bronze padella; two elliptical bronze forma di pasticceria; a bronze bowl; four glass flasks, one cylindrical and the others piriform, one with carbonized contents; a small glass bottle; a small glass vase; two glass cups; a terra sigillata bowl; four small ceramic vases; a small ceramic jar containing a bronze chain; a bronze stilus; a bone spindle; a small bone spoon; a bone strigil; a bronze lamp; a bronze seal inscribed "C. STTACCI EPITYNCHANI"; a bronze mirror; a marble pestle; a silver ring; three bone fragments; an ivory dice; a pyramidal lead weight, possibly a loom weight;and two bronze Vespasianic coins.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room m in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room m was on the north side of front hall b and was entered from it through a narrow doorway in the center of the south wall. The walls were plastered, and the pavement was in simple cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room had two breaches in the north ends of the east and west walls, implying the passage of post-eruption intruders along this side of the house.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:13), this was a cubiculum.


Room l in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room l was on the north side of front hall b and was fully open onto it along its south side. The walls were decorated in the Fourth Style, consisting of a black socle zone and a central zone with a yellow middle field separated from red side fields by yellow bands (Mau 1898:12). The pavement was in cocciopesto with ornament similar to that in room g.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

The room has been identified as an ala (Sogliano 1897:22).


Room i in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room i was on the west side of front hall b. It was fully open onto the latter along its east side and onto the garden along its west side. Narrow entrances in the west ends of the north and south walls also provided access to rooms k and h, respectively. The walls were covered with coarse plaster except for the upper zone, which was decorated in the Fourth Style (Maiuri 1942:113), consisting of garlands, candelabra, and other decorative elements on a white ground. The pavement was of white mosaic with a centrally placed emblema of cubes and hexagons with a guilloche border of colored tesserae. The threshold also had a patterned mosaic strip of colored marble tesserae.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri concluded (1942:113) that the walls of this room had been in the process of being redecorated. However, he believed that this redecoration had been interrupted after the upper zone had been painted but before the plastering had been finished in the lower parts of the walls.


Room h in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room h was in the southwest corner of front hall b. It was entered either from room i through a narrow doorway in the west end of the north wall, or from garden u through a wide opening in the west wall. The walls had remains of a Second-Style decoration (Mau 1898:11, 13), consisting of a red and yellow podium with projecting columns and a central zone of red orthostats with yellow borders. Above were ashlar blocks of imitation alabaster and an upper zone of green, white, and violet ashlar blocks. There is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A pile of pozzolana and other building material was reported from this room. No other loose finds were recorded.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:13), this room had been a triclinium. The pile of building material suggests that it had not been functioning as such at the time of the eruption. It seems that it either had been used to store building material or had itself been in the process of repair, but for how long prior to the eruption is unclear.


Room k in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room k was in the northwest corner of front hall b. It was entered either from room i through a narrow doorway in the west end of the south wall or from room l through a narrow doorway at the north end of the east wall. A wide opening in the west wall also provided access to the garden. The walls of this room were decorated in the First Style (Sogliano 1897:27) with an upper zone of red, green, and yellow ashlar blocks. The lower part of the wall had subsequently been decorated with a black socle zone with plants and a central zone consisting of yellow panels separated by white openings with twisted yellow candelabra. The pavement was cocciopesto with large fragments of green and white limestone.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The east end of the north wall of this room had a low recess (height: 0.35 m; figure D.181). No loose finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:13), this room had been a triclinium and the recess had been for the short end of a lectus medius. This room has also been referred to as a cubiculum (Sogliano 1897:27). The recess seems too low for a bed and could not have been used for such with the doorway to room l in the east wall. Even with an original doorway in the south end of the east wall, which had been closed prior to the eruption, there is barely space to fit a bed or couch here.


Garden u in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

This was a large garden area to the west of front hall b and entered from it through wide openings in either room h, room I, or room k. It had colonnaded ambulatories along the north and east sides and a short narrow colonnaded area in the southeast corner in front of room v (figure D.182). The walls of the east ambulatory were decorated with a Fourth-Style black socle zone and a central zone of red and yellow fields below a violet Second-Style upper zone. The pavement in at least the southeast ambulatory was of black and white mosaic.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

In the center of the west side of the garden had been a masonry triclinium, reportedly destroyed during the restoration of the house (Sogliano1897:23, 1904:334). Behind it a painted aedicula had been built against the west wall. In the latter were found a fluted marble puteal with a cover on which stood a marble statuette of a nymph and two blue-glazed duck-handled vases. In front of the aedicula stood a tufa altar, which had been plastered and was richly colored. Nearby were found six green-glazed vases: one goose-shaped, two duck-shaped, one in the form of a rooster, one in the form of an elephant (Sogliano 1897:Fig. 3), and one in the form of a Silen. Other finds in this location included a small terra-cotta altar, in the form of a vase, standing on a square tile, a terra-cotta statuette of a drunken women (Sogliano 1897:Fig. 2), and another of a women suckling an old man. In the garden area were also found two marble Bacchic masks, one small glass bottle, a shell-shaped forma di pasticceria, bronze tweezers, a bronze lamp-stand, and a bronze ring handle.

Three small fountains, with waterspouts in the forms of a lion, a serpent and a hare, stood near the columns in front of room i. Nearby were two masonry bases, conceivably for statues, and near the northernmost fountain was found a circular marble table. Another bronze lamp-stand was found in the north ambulatory. Unprovenanced finds included a bronze waterspout, three amphorae, one small bronze amphora, one bronze inkpot, one terra sigillata plate, one ceramic vase, and a bronze ornament.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:13), the garden porticoes had been left unfinished at the time of the eruption. He noted that various changes appeared to have occurred after AD 62, but he was unable to trace the order of events clearly. He also concluded (1898:18) that there had been no pergola here after AD 62. Maiuri concluded (1942:113) that the garden was being radically altered at the time of the eruption.

The finds in and around the aedicula appeared to have been part of a garden display comparable to that in the garden of the Casa degli Amorini Dorati, although somewhat less grand (see the Casa delle Nozze d'Argento). Mau observed that they were provisional furnishings for an aedicula that was intended to have been a mosaic fountain. These objects appear to have been collected on one side of the garden (see the more orderly displays in the Casa delle Nozze d'Argento, Casa dei Vettii, and Casa di Marcus Lucretius [Dwyer 1982:38﹣48]). It is difficult to understand why the other finds-such as vessels, lamp-stands, and implements-had been in this garden area. They could conceivably have been the contents of a cupboard in the ambulatory, as in houses such as the Casa del Menandro, Casa del Fabbro, or Casa degli Amanti.

The general impression is that the garden was in disarray-the loose finds, the display sculpture collected up together, a destroyed triclinium, and the apparently unfinished state of the porticoes. Why the statuary and ornaments would have been put back into a partly destroyed garden that was being restored since the AD 62 earthquake is difficult to comprehend. It seems that the activity in the garden displayed of a mixture of partial uses and incomplete alterations, perhaps an overlap of disruptions. The difficulty Mau had tracing the history might result from his trying to relate all these alterations and activities to the AD 62 earthquake.


Room v in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room v was in the southeast corner of garden u and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the north wall. It also had windows in the north and west walls that overlooked garden u. The walls were undecorated (Sogliano 1897:28), and the pavement was white mosaic with black borders.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

According to Sogliano (1897:28), the walls of this room had been constructed only shortly prior to the final eruption and had not been decorated.


Room w in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room w was in the northeast corner of the garden area and was entered from it through a narrow doorway in the center of the south wall. The walls were decorated in the Second Style (Sogliano1897:29), consisting of a pink socle zone, a central zone of red orthostats with purple panels and a molded cornice, and a pink, yellow and violet frieze.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:21), this was a small cubiculum.


Room z in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room z was in the northwest corner of the garden area and was entered from it through a relatively wide doorway in the center of the south wall. The wall decoration was probably in the Third Style, consisting of a black geometric socle zone with a central zone with fields. There is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Mau noted (1898:21) that this had formerly been two rooms. He dated its final form to after AD 62.


Corridor y in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Corridor y was at the north end of garden u and provided access from it to the group of rooms in the northernmost area of the house (rooms 02, 03, 04, 05, 06). Room x also opened off its east side and room 01 off its west side. The walls had fine plaster, but there is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Along the west wall of this corridor at the south end was a stairway.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room x in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Room x was to the north of room w on the east side of corridor y. It was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the south end of the west wall. The walls were decorated with vertical and horizontal divisions and decorative elements such as candelabra and chalices on a white ground (Sogliano 1897:29). The pavement was cocciopesto with scattered pieces of white limestone.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:21), this was a small cubiculum.


Room 01 in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

This room was to the north of room z on the west side of corridor y. It was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the south end of the east wall. The walls of this room were decorated in the Fourth Style (Sogliano 1897:29), with a white socle zone divided into panels and compartments with black and red lines. The central zone was also divided into compartments and had small monochrome panels with dolphins, as well as cupids, and ornamental bands. There is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds from this room included a bronze patera, a restored bronze cooking pot, three bronze bosses, and a bronze hinge.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:22), this was a triclinium. He suggested (1898:22) that the fittings found here had been the remains of a cupboard. The other finds imply food preparation activities.


Area 02 in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

Area 02 was in the northernmost part of the house and provided an entranceway from the street to the west of this insula. It also gave access to rooms 03, 04, 05, and 06. The walls were plastered, but there is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds in the entranceway consisted of forty bronze bosses and eleven other ornaments from the door itself, a bell with an iron hammer, which may have been a doorbell, and an inscribed amphora.

Interpretations of room:

Most of the finds are architectural fittings seemingly from an ornamented house door. The recording of one inscribed amphora suggests that more uninscribed, and therefore uninteresting, amphorae remains (see room e in the Casa delle Nozze d'Argento, and courtyard 34 in the Casa del Menandro) could conceivably have been found here but went unrecorded.


Room 03 in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

This small space was on the north side of area 02 and was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the south wall. There is no record or visible evidence of the wall covering or pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Mau (1898:22) identified this space as a latrine.


Room 04 in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

This was an L-shaped room on the north side of area 02 and entered from the latter through a narrow doorway at the southern end of the east side. There is no record or evidence of the decoration and pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None


Room 05 in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

This was also an L-shaped room on the north side of area 02, entered from it through a narrow doorway in the southeast corner. The walls were plastered. There is no record or visible evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

One inscribed amphora was reported from this room.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room 06 in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

This relatively large area was at the east end of area 02. Most of its west side was open onto the latter. There is no record or visible evidence of the wall covering or pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A bench in the northwest corner of this room stood along the north wall.

Interpretations of room:

According to Mau (1898:22), this was the kitchen. The complete lack of recorded finds, compared with sporadic finds in the neighboring rooms, suggests it had not been functioning as such at the time of the eruption. The dearth of recorded finds in thisgeneral area suggests limited activity at the time of the eruption.


Upper Levels in House VI 15,5

Description of room:

The stairway in corridor y indicates upper-story rooms in this area. Stairways that existed in rooms p and d suggest that at least at one time, there had been upper-story rooms in this part of the house, which had been separate from the main house.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

In the upper levels of the volcanic deposit in the east area of the house were found a triangular bronze furniture fragment (an L-shaped object, possibly a guardispigolo), three ring handles, a bronze lock bolt, three small bronze hinges, a fixed bronze handle, a small cylindrical bronze piece, a bronze lampstand, a ceramic lamp, a glass cup, and a bronze ornament decorated with Pegasus and reportedly from the headpiece of a bridle. In the upper levels on the north side of the front hall were found a ceramic bowl, a small bone spoon, and two double-spouted ceramic lamps, and possibly a painted ceramic tile. In the upper levels of the west area of the house near the rear entrance were found an inscribed amphora and two small glass bottles.

Interpretations of room:

Mau reported (1898:22) rooms above the area around the rear entrance to the house. The finds in the rooms above this area were comparable to assemblages in other upper stories, such as room A' of the Casa di Julius Polybius, House I 10,8 and the Casa del Sacello Iliaco.

Mau also noted (1898:12) that with the possible exception of the area above rooms d and p, the front hall had no upper floor at the time of the eruption. The description and the current remains do not make clear whether there had ever been upper-story rooms here or whether this was a result of pre-eruption collapse or alteration. The finds above the east side of the house suggest the presence of a piece of furniture in one of the upper-story rooms above rooms d and p. A harness ornament seems an unusual find for an upper-story room unless perhaps there had been separate apartments there. The finds in the upper levels of the volcanic deposit to the north of the front hall could conceivably have been disturbed from the lower rooms.