Information concerning the rooms in House VI 16,26

Jump to:
Entranceway A
Front hall B
Room C
Room D
Room E
Room F
Room G
Room H
Room I
Room J
Corridor K
Room L
Garden M
Room N
Room O
Room P
Room R
Room S
Room T
Entranceway V
Corridor V'
Room U
Room X
Room Y
Room Z
Room A'
Upper Levels

Entranceway A in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

This relatively wide entranceway led from the street on the west side of this insula to front hall B. The walls were decorated with a high yellow socle with coarse white plaster above in the immediate entrance, then further in a high socle imitating a rhomboid net pattern with simple coarse plaster above (Sogliano 1908:183). The pavement was in cocciopesto.

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 House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Front hall B was entered from entranceway A on its west side. Rooms E, C, and D also opened off its west side, rooms F, G, and H off the north side, rooms I and J off the east side, and corridor K and room L off the south side. It was not the usual form of a front hall, consisting rather of two porticoes along the north and west sides and a large open area to the southeast with a catchment pool in the northwest corner of the latter (Sogliano 1908:183) The walls were decorated with a high laterizio socle with white plaster above (Sogliano 1908:184). The pavement was in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The central water-catchment pool (impluvium) was furbished in signinum with fragments of marble. A puteal stood over the cistern mouth on its north side. A decorated marble table stood near the pilaster at the northwest corner of the impluvium, and another decorated marble table stood near the northeast pilaster of this front hall. A third table (of slate) was also found near the impluvium and a marble tub and another marble table stood in its northwest corner. Other finds near the impluvium included an amphora and seventy-two tiles, reportedly for restoring the house (figure D.157).

The southwest corner of this front hall had a lararium painting. Nearby were found a bronze lock plate and bronze hinge, an amphora, two ceramic jars, a ceramic jug, and a terra-cotta altar. A bronze lock plate, two bronze hinges, and two bronze nails were found near entranceway A. In the northwest corner of the portico were found an small amphora, two ceramic jugs, two ceramic lamps, and two mother-of-pearl shells. Towards the west end of the north side of the front hall was a stairway.

Interpretations of room:

The central open area of this front hall appears to have been larger than in most front halls in this sample. The furniture in and around the central pool is comparable to that in houses such as the Casa dei Ceii and seems to be consistent with the traditional concept of front-hall furnishings (see Dwyer 1982:114﹣15). The two assemblages near the lararium painting and in the northwest corner might have belonged in cupboards or chests, such as are frequently found in other front halls. The combination of coarse wall furbishing and domestic storage is also reminiscent of other front halls (for example, the Casa del Sacello Iliaco, Casa del Fabbro, Casa della Venere in Bikini). It would seem that the front hall had been orderly and functioning as usual, if possibly downgraded, at the time of the eruption were it not for the additional discovery of seventy-two terra-cotta roof tiles near the central pool. If these tiles are for repair resulting from damage caused during the AD 62 earthquake, then the damage must have been left unrepaired for a considerable amount of time (without seemingly altering activity in this front hall) but after the walls had been furbished with coarse plaster. More feasible is that the tiles had been brought in for maintenance or repair to damage caused at a date closer to the final eruption.


Room C in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

This was a relatively small room in the southwest corner of front hall B and entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the center of the east side. Its walls had either coarse or no plaster at the time of the eruption. The pavement was in laterizio.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The west end of the north wall of this room had a recess. The finds in this room included a ceramic jug, two bronze casseruole, a bronze jug, a bronze elliptical forma di pasticceria, a bronze vase, a terra sigillata bowl, a terra sigillata plate, a ceramic cup, a small yellow-glazed ceramic amphora, a small bronze spoon, a bone die, and a small elliptical lead weight.

Interpretations of room:

This room has been identified as a cubiculum (Sogliano 1908:185). The finds assemblage might not seem to be of luxury quality, but equally they do not appear to have been all of utilitarian quality. The combination of unadorned walls and this assemblage suggests that this room had been either occupied in a disrupted state, conceivably as a sleeping room, or used for storage.


Room D in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room D was a relatively small, narrow room in the northwest corner of front hall B entered through a narrow doorway at the north end of the east wall. The north wall of this room at least had decoration in the First Style, consisting of yellow ashlar and orthostat blocks in the central and upper zones (Sogliano 1908:186; Schefold 1957a:158). The pavement was in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This is a high, narrow recess in the east end of the north wall.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room E in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room E was in the northwest corner of front hall B and entered from it through a narrow doorway at the south end of the east wall. The walls were furbished with a high pink socle with white plaster above. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

This room reportedly contained the remains of a chest consisting of two bronze locks, fifteen bone hinges of various sizes, and two bronze hinges. With these fittings were also found a small bronze buckle and the bronze finial from a wooden staff. Other finds included thirty-two lead weights in the form of loaves, twenty-eight ceramic weights, three glass flasks, a ceramic lamp, a bone awl, a shell, a gold finger ring, a gilded bone ball, and a bronze coin.

Interpretations of room:

This room has been referred to as a rustic room (Sogliano 1908:186). The ceramic and lead weights were conceivably both loom weights.* The combined number of weights is commensurate with those found in the front hall of House I 10,8, suggesting the presence of one or possibly two looms. Most of the other finds are related to needlework, jewelry, liquid storage, and lighting. This room appeared to have contained a mixed assemblage associated with utilitarian domestic and personal activities, some conceivably female.

* Neither John Peter Wild nor I have seen these weights, but Wild has advised me that loom weights can take a "bewildering variety of forms in the archaeological record" (written correspondence with the author, c. 1993).


Room F in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room F was a relatively small room or the north side of front hall b and accessible from it through a narrow doorway in the south wall. The walls were decorated in the Second Style with a high white socle and evidence of orthostats. There is no record or evidence of a pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

There were wooden shelves on the north and west walls of this room. Loose finds included three amphorae, three ceramic jugs, a ceramic pot, a ceramic hydria, and a rustic ceramic bowl.

Interpretations of room:

This room has been called a cella penaria (Sogliano 1908:186). It was apparently being used as a storeroom for utilitarian and domestic material at the time of the eruption.


Room G in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

This was a relatively large room on the north side of front hall B and entered from it through a doorway towards the center of the south wall. It also had a narrow doorway in the south end of the east wall that provided access to room H. The wall decoration consisted of a black socle zone; a central zone of yellow fields bordered with black bands with tendrils and candelabra, and central panels containing Adonis wounded and Aphrodite fishing; and a white upper zone with fantastic architecture (Sogliano 1908:187). The pavement was in calcestruzzo.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

This room had a possible disturbance breach in the north end of the west wall.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds included one bronze foot, reportedly from a bed; two three-sided pieces of bronze lamina (one silvered and reportedly from a wooden object, possibly furniture); a bronze cooking pot; a bronze situla with an iron handle; and a spherical bronze vase.

Interpretations of room:

Schefold (1957a:158) identified the wall decoration as Vespasianic Fourth Style. The furnishings suggest that this room had been used for sleeping or dining, but the vessels imply food preparation. The decoration might not seem to suit that activity, although we may be less conversant with types of cooking areas in Pompeian houses than we believe (see the Casa di Giuseppe II). Such vessels were unlikely to have been moved during an eruption. A multi-use area in a lavishly decorated room in a large house suggests either disruption postdating the decoration or a different pattern of domestic life than has traditionally been envisaged for this town.


Room H in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room H was a relatively large trapezoidal room in the northeast corner of the front hall entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the center of the south wall. It also had a wide opening in the east wall onto the street. The north wall and part of the west wall were painted with a black socle and a central zone of red fields. The south wall had only a simple laterizio plaster. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds in this room consisted of a glass flask, bronze tweezers, a bronze needle, a bronze buckle, a bone spindle, a ceramic lamp, and a bronze coin.

Interpretations of room:

The coarse plastering on the south wall suggests that the room had been downgraded at some stage.


Room I in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Area I was to the northeast of front hall B. The walls had once been decorated, including a socle zone of imitation marble on the north wall. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

Sogliano (1908:188) identified this area as a type of ala.


Room J in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

This area was to the south of area I, but the wall between these two areas had been destroyed (Sogliano 1908:188). The east and south walls were decorated in the First Style with a black socle zone; a central zone of yellow, red, and green orthostats or imitation marble; and an upper zone of rows of ashlar blocks in similar imitation marble. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Corridor K in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Corridor K (figure D.158) led from the south side of front hall B to the north side of garden M. The walls were decorated with a red socle zone, a central zone of alternating yellow and red fields but lacking ornament, and a white upper zone with architectural elements, volutes, and swans (Sogliano 1908:188). The pavement was in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

There were recesses in the north end of both the east and west walls of this corridor. Finds of numerous bone hinges, a ring handle, and a bronze drop handle suggest that a chest or cupboard had been located here. A number of lock fragments might also have belonged to this container. Its contents probably included a small glass krater, a boar's tooth, part of an antelope antler, and two bone spindles. Other finds from this corridor consisted of a bronze door pivot, a ceramic vase, a simple bronze base, and a ceramic lamp.

Interpretations of room:

The position of the recesses in relation to the doorway to front hall B indicates that they cannot have been used for beds. For this reason Sogliano argued (1908:188) that it must originally have been a cubiculum facing onto the garden that had later been transformed into a passageway; however, the east and west walls of this passageway abutted onto the north entranceway leading to the front hall that was constructed of limestone blocks. The east wall had been built to take account of these blocks. Therefore, these side walls with the recesses were therefore either contemporary with or later than the entranceway. Such limestone blocks were reportedly one of the oldest construction methods in Pompeii (see Carrington 1933:128﹣30; Strocka 1991:66). The recesses cannot predate the formation of this space as an entranceway. The cupboard or chest found here had only a few small contents. It could conceivably have been emptied of other contents prior to the eruption.


Room L in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room L was on the south side of front hall B and fully open on its north side onto the latter. It had a large window in the south wall overlooking garden M. The decoration on the east and west walls of this room consisted of a black geometric socle zone and a central zone of red side fields with vignettes and yellow middle fields with a central panel of Meleager and Atalanta. The pavement was in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Remains of a wooden cupboard were found against the south wall of this room. They included a bronze lock, an iron key, and sixteen bone hinges. The contents consisted of five small glass bottles; a small stone pestle and mortar; a small alabaster alabastron; a glass krater; a small glass vase; a small glass amphora; a pyramidal glass flask; two large ceramic jugs; a ceramic kernos; an iron strigil; possibly a sword sheath; three iron fragments from a rod; a bone finial; four bone tesserae numbered three to six and a bone disk, possibly a tessera; a bronze fishhook; an iron case containing four iron needles; and a bronze coin. Near the north entrance were found a bronze lock, a ceramic jug, a terra-cotta altar, a small bronze buckle, and a bronze coin. Other finds included a bronze ring handle and a bronze coin.*

Interpretations of room:

Schefold (1957a:158) identified this room as a tablinum and the decoration as Vespasianic Fourth Style. The contents of the cupboard near the south wall seem to have been mainly small domestic and personal objects, many possibly related to toilet activities and gaming.

* Some of this material is reminiscent of that recorded in the front hall and might be a repeated report of the same material found in the doorway between the two areas.


Garden M in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Garden M was a semi-colonnaded garden in the south part of the house. It was entered from front hall B through corridor K or from the street to the west of this insula through entranceway V. The columns on the north side of the garden had a red socle with coarse plaster above (Sogliano 1908:189). Likewise, the upper parts of the east, west, and south walls and the engaged pseudo-columns on the south wall had coarse plaster in the upper part but a black socle below, on which were painted plants and birds (Sogliano 1908:190). There is no record or evidence of any pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

Under a stairway in the northwest corner of the north ambulatory was a built-in cupboard.* Six dolia of various sizes were found in the southeast corner of the open garden area (figure D.159). A terra-cotta basin was also reported from this garden.

Interpretations of room:

Finds of dolia have been made in the gardens of Houses I 6,8-9 and I 7,19, neither of which seemed to have had a formal function at the time of the eruption. One is reliant on previous descriptions of the decoration to assess whether or not it had been complete, but it would seem that much of the garden wall had been left coarsely finished while the socle had been painted. It could conceivably have been downgraded after it had received, at least partially, its painted Fourth-Style decoration that Schefold (1957a:158) identified as Vespasianic.

* The southern part of this cupboard has been referred to as a "canile" (Sogliano 1908:191; see garden i in House I 6,8-9).


Room N in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room N was a relatively large room on the north side of garden M and open onto the latter for much of its south side. The decoration was in the First Style (Sogliano 1908:191), consisting of an imitation marble socle zone; a central zone of yellow, green, and red orthostats; and an upper zone of yellow, red, and violet ashlar blocks and a molded cornice. The pavement consisted of numerous pieces of colored limestone, so-called veneziana.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

Three possible disturbance breaches were observable in the walls of this room, all close to floor level: one in the east wall near the north end, one in the north wall towards the east end, and one in the west wall near the north end.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room O in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room O was a trapezoidal room in the northeast corner of garden M and accessible from the latter through a narrow doorway in the south end of the west wall. The walls were furbished with coarse plaster. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A high recess in the south end of the west wall had evidence of shelving in it.

Interpretations of room:

The excavator's observation (Sogliano 1908:191) that this room had an apotheca in the west wall must refer to this recess.


Room P in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room P was on the east side of garden M and fully open on its west side onto the latter. The walls were decorated with red fields divided with black bands (Sogliano 1908:191). The pavement was in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room R in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room R was a relatively small room on the east side of garden M and entered from it through a narrow doorway in the west wall. The walls were covered with pink plaster. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The excavators noted the imprint of a wooden stairway here. No loose finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

According to Sogliano (1908:191), this was a rustic room.


Room S in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room S was a large area in the southeast corner of the house, fully open onto garden M. The walls were coarsely plastered. There is no record or 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 Sogliano (1908:191), this large room was also a rustic room.


Room T in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room T was in the northwest corner of garden M and was entered from it through a narrow doorway in the east end of the south wall. The walls were reportedly unadorned (Sogliano1908:191). The pavement was in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A small masonry structure (focolaretto) stood against the south wall near the entrance of this room.

Interpretations of room:

As a large room off the garden, it might once have had a formal function but appears to have been downgraded or in the course of renovation prior to the eruption. The small masonry structure was reportedly a small hearth (Sogliano 1908:191).


Entranceway V in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Entranceway V led from the street to the west of this insula into garden m to the east. Room U also opened off its north side and room X off the south side. The walls of this entranceway were decorated with coarsely painted imitation marble with black and white vertical veining, which continued in corridor V' leading to room Z (Sogliano 1908:191). The pavement was in cocciopesto.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

No finds were reported.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Corridor V' in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

This long narrow corridor was entered from the northwest area of garden M and ran along its west. The walls were covered with coarse plaster. There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A bone hairpin, two small bronze bases, and a bronze coin were found in this corridor.

Interpretations of room:

These are small, easily lost pieces and could conceivably have fallen from the upper floor.


Room U in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room U to the north of entranceway V was entered from the latter through a narrow doorway in the east end of the south wall. The walls were covered with white plaster, and the pavement was in cocciopesto (Sogliano 1908:191).

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A bronze strigil was found here.

Interpretations of room:

According to Sogliano (1908:191), this was a rustic room.


Room X in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room X was to the south of entranceway V and could be entered from it through two narrow doorways in the north wall, one at the west end and one at the east. Like room U, this room had white plaster on the walls (Sogliano 1908:191). There is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The finds from this room included a ceramic jug, two small glass bottles, and a bronze strigil.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room Y in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room Y in the southwest area of the house was entered through a narrow doorway in the south end of the east wall from a corridor V'. The walls had the remains of coarse plaster, but there is no record or evidence of the pavement.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

The east wall of this room had a semicircular niche. No loose finds were reported here.

Interpretations of room:

None.


Room Z in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

This L-shaped room in the southwest corner of the house was entered through a wide opening in the east wall of the north arm from corridor V'. No wall furbishings or pavement were recorded.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

A bench stood in the northwest corner and a latrine in the southwest corner. A small marble Egyptian statuette was found in the volcanic deposit.

Interpretations of room:

The fixtures indicate that this was the kitchen, but no evidence was reported to indicate that it had been functioning as such at the time of the eruption. It is uncertain whether the statuette was from this room or had fallen from the upper floor. Marble statuettes and fragments of statuary have been found in kitchens and kitchen areas (see the Casa dei Ceii; also Dwyer 1982:32﹣36 for eight statuettes and fragmentary pieces in the kitchen area of the Casa di Marcus Lucretius). The fragmentary nature of many of these latter pieces suggested that they were placed in these areas as salvage material rather than for display. This might have been the case for the one found in this house. An Egyptian statuette seems an unlikely statue type for a kitchen (see Dwyer 1982:34﹣36; Orr 1988).


Room A' in House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Room A' was in the southwest corner of the house and was entered from corridor V'. There is no record or evidence of 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 House VI 16,26

Description of room:

Stairways off the north side of front hall B, possibly in room R, and in the northwest corner of garden M indicate that there had probably been upper-floor rooms at least above the north side and probably to either side of the garden area.

Condition of volcanic deposit:

No stratigraphical information.

Summary of Finds and Fixtures Distribution:

In front of room H, up to 3 m above the pavement, were found a ceramic pot, a bronze pendant, and a marble fragment of a griffin's foot.

Interpretations of room:

The finds in front of room H may have been from an upper-story room in this area. Likewise, as already suggested, those in the corridor leading to room Z may have fallen from the upper floor in this area