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Excavation

  • Ercolano, Casa dell’Albergo
  • Ercolano
  • Herculaneum
  • Italy
  • Campania
  • Naples
  • Ercolano

Summary (English)

  • Having completed, as part of the HCP, the cleaning and putting back into operation of the ancient sewer running below the basalt paving of Cardo III, work was undertaken on the secondary sewer network in the east arm (room 57 ex 66) of the peristyle of the Casa dell’Albergo. It was decided to create a new sewer in order to drain the rainwater from this part of the house and from the roofs of adjacent houses (House of the Skeleton, House of the Brick Altar, House of the Bronze Herm) into the sewer below Cardo III. The creation of this secondary branch with the positioning of the pipes and inspection wells meant that a rescue excavation was carried out along its line. The initial cleaning of the east arm of the peristyle in the House revealed a make up for what remained of the floor in use in 79 A.D. This make up, within which there was material of Flavian date, was removed. Below was an earlier floor surface of very compact beaten-earth that was brown in colour.

    This layer abutted the perimeter wall of the Casa dell’Albergo in opus incertum of cobbles and lava stone bonded with mud. A well was cut into the beaten surface probably in order to draw from the water-table. Its diameter was circa 1.80 m, only half of which appeared in the trench. This hypothesis also seems to be supported by the presence of three holes next to the well-head, one containing stones to be used as wedges. These must have housed poles that were probably part of a pulley. The well was sealed by a conglomerate of tufa stones bonded with weak lime mortar. The removal of the brown beaten-earth surface produced pottery and painted plaster fragments datable to the mid 1st century A.D. Therefore, in the mid 1st century A.D. in the area that was to become the peristyle of the Casa dell’Albergo, a perimeter wall already existed separating the house from Cardo III and which in this zone enclosed a space, probably open, with a beaten-earth floor in which a well had been cut. The latter was filled when the Flavian floor was laid, in phase with the construction of the portico, perhaps during an overall restructuring of the house.

    A thin brown layer came to light below the beaten-earth surface, the result of the pedogenesis of the compact cinerite deposit from the Pomici di Avellino eruption of Vesuvius (1760 a.C.). The only other evidence of anthropological activity in this thin layer was a shallow pit containing a layer of burning and baked clay, with several large stones on its southern edge. The excavation of this hearth produced fragments of black glaze pottery dating to the end of the 3rd-beginning of the 2nd century B.C., the earliest finds from the excavation.

  • Domenico Camardo - Società Sosandra 
  • Maria Paola Guidobaldi - Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei 

Director

  • Maria Paola Guidobaldi - Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei

Team

  • Mario Notomista - Società Sosandra
  • Domenico Camardo - Società Sosandra

Research Body

  • Herculaneum Conservation Project (Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei-Packard Humanities Institute-British School at Rome)

Funding Body

  • Packard Humanities Institute
  • The British School at Rome

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