Information concerning the rooms in House I 6,8-9

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Room b
Front hall c
Room a
Room c'
Corridor d'
Room d
Garden i
Rooms e, f, g
Room e'
Room h
Upper Levels

Room b in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

Area b (figure D.90) was the width of the house and essentially fully open along its north side onto the Via dell'Abbondanza (Maiuri 1929:Fig. 21). It also had no south wall except for the north walls of rooms a and c' and was open to the front hall to the south. The walls were covered with fine white plaster and the pavement was of lavapesta with fragments of terra-cotta and pieces of white marble.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This area might have a breach in the west corner of the south wall 1.7 m above the floor.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

There were fixtures on the eastern side, a wooden bench, two large pots cemented into the floor, and shelving on the west side. All the loose finds were small. Near the entrance were found three coins and two small pots, one a so-called fritillus.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri observed (1929:393) a high coarse socle applied over an older plaster and traces of a marble pavement with a groove for the door bolt near the central pillar. This indicated to him that this house had originally had a traditional fauces that had later been abandoned to convert the front of this house into a shop. He also noted (1929:393) black lines painted on the west wall which he interpreted as the accounting of the shopkeeper. The fixtures and the layout of this area could confirm Maiuri's identification. The finds in this area, however, are small and easily lost. Unless all the merchandise was looted after or during the eruption, one must conclude that either: it had been of perishable material; everything had removed from the shop front during the eruption; or the shop had been emptied prior to the eruption by the owners or by opportunists. This situation is similar to that in room a.*

*All the material from this room might have been removed during the excavation of the street. I have found no report to this effect, however, and it seems unlikely given the finds described as fallen here from the upper story (Della Corte 1912:142). To compare what kind of material might be found in a shop and its retrobottega, see House I 6,10 (Maiuri 1929:400﹣4).


Front hall c in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

The front hall (figure D.91) was entered from the north directly from room b (Maiuri 1929:Fig. 23). Rooms a and c' opened off its northern area and room d and corridor d' off the south side. The wall decoration consisted of a high signinum socle divided into panels with painted strips between and covered an earlier yellow socle with white fields above, the latter decorated with green leaves and branches. The pavement was lavapesta with fragments of terra-cotta and chips of white marble.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The roof of the front hall seems to have collapsed onto the floor during the eruption (Maiuri 1929:393; GdSc A,VI,6:504). Tiles, some restored in antiquity, and decorative details from the roof were found along the east, west, and south sides. The lack of roofing remains along the north side led Maiuri to suggest that one of the slopes of the compluvium had collapsed later, dispersing the tiles in the upper strata of the volcanic deposit. This implies that any furnishings in the front hall were undisturbed at least on the east, south, and west sides of the impluvium. This might also have applied to room a.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The fixtures in the front hall included a rectangular central water-catchment pool (impluvium) with a cocciopesto base decorated with white tesserae in a net pattern of rhomboids with a meander border, of which the sides had been heightened; a stairway along the east wall (presumably to an upper-story colonnaded room above room d); and a large pot cemented to the floor at the foot of the stairs. The latter is comparable to those in room b and presumably had a similar function. Apart from small, easily lost finds such as coins and a small glass bottle, possible furniture fittings and some lead fragments, the majority of loose finds from the front hall consisted of fragments of amphorae and of dolia. The recorders did not pay much attention to these large storage vessels; so, they were probably neither abundant nor inscribed.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri suggested (1929:393) that the front hall had been converted into a retrobottega. He observed that the impluvium had been transformed into a water tank and refurbished in simple cocciopesto. In the northwest corner of the front hall were traces of a signinum socle that predated the construction of the south wall of room a. On the south wall of the front hall were remnants of a high, now-white socle that was later than the signinum socle in the southeast corner. Traces of plaster remain on the outside of the east and south walls of room a, indicating that at least the final plastering of the front hall postdated the latter's construction. If, as the depositional description implies, the front hall had been undisturbed after the eruption, then like rooms a and b it must have either been relatively empty or emptied at the time of the eruption, or contained only perishable material unnoticed by the excavators. If the west side of the front hall had been undisturbed after the eruption, then the same was probably true for room a.


Room a in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

Room a was small room on the west side of the northern part of front hall c, entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the east wall. The walls were covered with white plaster. The pavement was of lavapesta with fragments of terra-cotta and chips of marble.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

The east and south walls of this room were well preserved, but not the west and north walls. Hence, it is not possible to assess whether this room had been disturbed.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri referred to this room as a "casotto" with light "intelaiatura lignea (opus craticum)" walls, which had served as storeroom for goods to be sold (1929:393). No evidence substantiates this interpretation. If it was a storeroom, then it had stored either perishable goods, or goods desirable to post-eruption intruders, or it had been empty at the time of the eruption.


Room c' in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

Room c' was a small area in the northeast corner of front hall c. It was open onto the front hall along its south side. The walls were covered with fine white plaster, and the pavement was lavapesta with fragments of tile and chips of marble.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Room c' had a bench along the north and east walls. No loose finds were recorded from this area.

Interpretations of room:

Room c' was used as a small kitchen, according to Maiuri (1929:393). The bench was built against the plaster on the north and east walls. This plaster is similar to that on the south wall of the front hall, indicating that the bench must have been a later alteration. There were no finds to indicate that this kitchen had been functioning at the time of the eruption.


Corridor d' in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

This corridor provided access from the southwest corner of front hall c to the northwest corner of garden i. It also provided access to room d through a narrow doorway in the south end of the east wall. The walls were plastered and the pavement was of lime mortar.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room d in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

This room was to the south of front hall c. It was entered from the latter through a wide doorway in the north wall at a lower level than the front hall (Maiuri 1929:393) or from corridor d' through a narrow doorway at the south end of the west wall. It also had a large window in the south wall that looked onto the garden area. The walls were decorated in the Third Style with a black socle zone, a central zone of panels on a white ground, and an upper zone with compartments. The pavement was coarse cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room contained a bed and possibly another piece of furniture with bone hinges, such as a chest or a cupboard. Apart from one bronze base, the remaining finds were mainly fragments of marble. Two of the pieces were statue supports, three lion's feet were probably from furniture, at least one (and probably two) was an architectural fragment, and the rest were rectangular pieces or cubes, one of which has been identified as from a pavement.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri (1929:393) described this as the only room on the ground floor of the house that was of ample proportions. He concluded that it had been adapted into a very modest triclinium or a cubiculum for the person in charge of the shop. The Giornali degli Scavi (A,VI,6:505) noted that this room occupied the position of a tablinum without the characteristics of one. Foss proposed (1994:223) that it was a general-purpose reception room. Apart from the bed, most of the finds in this room were of luxury quality but incomplete or broken. The missing parts might have been looted after the eruption, but notably all were incomplete. A fragment of marble cornice seems an unlikely find in a domestic house or small shop, even more so in a functioning bedroom or dining room. The presence of a bed does not necessarily identify this room as a bedroom or dining room, as the bed could have been stored here. It is possible that all these pieces were being stored here and that they had value as fragments (see room H in the Casa di Julius Polybius, hall 41 in the Casa del Menandro, and room 08 in House I 10, 8). Whoever stored them might have wished to use them in renovations or to sell them. If the bed were not also being stored here, then the occupants would have been sleeping or eating in a storeroom, which suggests disrupted living conditions.


Garden i in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

Garden i was an open area entered from the north through corridor d'. It also had a narrow entranceway in the west end of the south wall, through ambulatory 13 of the Casa dei Quadretti Teatrali. Rooms e, e', f, g, and h opened off the east side of this garden. There is no record or evidence of wall decoration.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The notable fixture in this area was a so-called dog kennel, built into the southeast corner of the colonnade. This identification was based on the observation that the structure would be more suitable for a dog than for cooking (Maiuri 1929:394). Structures that were possibly similar and found in garden areas in Region VIII have been identified as hearths (see area h' in Casa di Giuseppe II; terrace m' in House VIII 2,34). The other finds in the ambulatory consisted of the remains of a marble table with an inscription (Maiuri 1929:Fig. 24), six large storage vessels, and a number of pieces of half-columns in tufa (figure D.92). According to the Giornali degli Scavi, the three marble legs were from a circular table now reconstructed in the front hall of the Casa dei Quadretti Teatrali (see Allison 1992b:52). Three tufa half-columns remain in the south ambulatory.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri argued (1929:394) that the last owner had impoverished the house by building a dog kennel against the intercolumniation of the garden. The structure visible today built into the parapet wall in the garden area (width: 1.20 m, length: 1.55 m, height: 0.70 m, partly roofed) appears to be largely a modern reconstruction. Its assumed function was conceivably the result of a desire of the excavators to find identifiable behavior, perhaps related to evidence for guard dogs in other houses in Pompeii (for example, the Casa del Poeta Tragico and House I 12,3). Whatever its function, however, the building of such a structure into the colonnade perhaps downgraded the formality of the garden. Maiuri suggested (1929:394) that the tufa pieces had been elements from another building because their dimensions and nobility were unsuitable for this house. However, since excavation, they have been restored in the upper story above room d across the north end and in next door House I 6,7. The columns appear to fit well in this modern reconstruction (GdSc A,VI,6:535, 543).

Maiuri (1929:395) identified the storage vessels in this garden as part of the merchandise of the shop and the marble table legs as part of a clearance or a recent acquisition to be repaired later. This would mean that the latter had been collected here in the same manner as the tufa half-columns. But their placement against the storage vessels would hinder the accessibility of these as merchandise for a functioning business. Dolia are not uncommon in garden areas (see Houses I 7,19 and VI 16,26). The assemblage in this area suggests that this garden had not been functioning either as an ornamental or as a productive garden at the time of the eruption. This might be confirmed by the cutting of a communication door between it and ambulatory 13 in the Casa dei Quadretti Teatrali (Maiuri 1929:392), which would have turned the open garden area into a thoroughfare. If this garden had in fact been converted into a storage area for the shop at the front, as concluded by Maiuri, this function might also have been hindered by the stored furniture parts and architectural elements in this area, as in room d. If the columns were indeed for the repair of this house, then the activity of the shop would surely have been further hindered by incomplete restoration.


Rooms e, f, g in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

A row of relatively small rooms along the east side of garden i, rooms e, f, and g, all had narrow entrances in their west walls leading to garden i. Little remains of the walls of these rooms or of their wall decoration and pavements.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

The excavations revealed that this area had been somewhat destroyed, completely disordered, and had deteriorated prior to the eruption (Maiuri 1929:394; GdSc A,VI,6:490). Consequently, Maiuri surmised that the last proprietor had abandoned these rooms.


Room e' in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

Room e' was a small space between rooms e and f and entered from garden i through a narrow doorway in the west wall. Likewise, little remains of the walls, decoration, or pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The only fixture in this room was a marble puteal mouth. No loose finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Maiuri identified the puteal mouth as a latrine (1929:394).


Room h in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

This room was in the southeast corner of the house. It was an L-shaped space entered from garden i through a narrow doorway at the north end of the western section. There is no record or evidence that it had been decorated.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A very deep channel took up the southern section of this space. No loose finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

The Giornali degli Scavi referred to this as a rustic room with a low floor (GdSc A,VI,6:490, 18 June 1927). It may have functioned as a latrine.


Upper Levels in House I 6,8-9

Description of room:

The stairway in the front hall of this house indicates that the ground floor was connected to rooms on the upper story. The restoration of columns above room d suggests that at least one upper-story room had once been here (see Sutherland 1990:113﹣33). There also seems to have been an upper story above the front of the house.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Della Corte (1912:183) recorded seven amphorae from the height of the architrave at the entrance to this house, although the Giornali degli Scavi mentioned only six (A,VI,6:11). The majority of the other finds, mostly of ceramic, were from the area above the shop at the front of the house. Of note was a bronze bed end (Della Corte 1929:Fig. 2), fourteen used pumice stones in the base of an amphora, and a small bowl containing dark red paint (compare Conticello et al. 1990, 154﹣55 Nos 17, 18, 20﹣24). Other finds were made from approximately 2 m above the front hall. These included thirteen bronze studs, which were of a size suggesting that they were door studs, and marble slabs that were unlikely to have been part of the building.

Interpretations of room:

If the bronze bed end was indeed in situ, then there must have been a bedroom, dining room, or storage area above the shop. The association of this piece of furniture with a number of amphorae, pumice stones, and paint suggests that it was a storage area (see the upper story of the Casa di Julius Polybius). The paint and the possible polishing implements suggest house repairs or some industry were being carried out. The combination of these and luxury furniture imply disrupted conditions. The finds from 2m above the front hall were from either the room above the shop, the colonnaded room above room d, or rooms above one of the houses to either side. Front halls did not generally have upper stories. Wherever these finds were from, the marble slabs present a curious find. If post-eruption intruders had not carried them to this position, then they might indicate activity similar to that in room d.