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Excavation

  • Pompei VII 4, 26-28
  • Pompei
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    Summary (English)

    • The 2011 campaign aimed to uncover and study any perfumeries situated along the via degli Augustali.

      This research originated from the excavations undertaken in 2001-2002 by CJB in the tabernae at nos. 24-25 of this street and the excavations undertaken in 2007-2009 by the Sección de Arqueología del Ayuntamiento of Valencia in the tabernae at nos. 30 and 32. The resulting discoveries suggested the existence of perfumeries here during the 1st century A.D.

      The search for other perfumeries led to the excavation of tabernae 26, 27 and 28 situated between the excavations mentioned above. These are small rooms occupied by ateliers which, at the moment of the eruption, do not seem to have been part of the houses behind them.

      Study of the various re-builds undertaken in taberna 28 showed that it was originally part of the house of the “Reverbatory furnace”, from which it was seperated during the final phase when the door between the two was blocked. The other two tabernae originally formed a single room.

      Knowledge of the perfumer’s quarter in the 1st century A.D. has increased due to the discovery of installations with tanks and, in particular, a large quantity of ceramic unguentaria thrown into the tanks and pits. The excavation of taberna 28 was important from this point of view as it dates the perfumers’ activity to the second half of the 2nd century B.C. Another, earlier pit produced mainly cooking wares associated with ox and goat horns, but no unguentaria.

      At the time of the eruption, in the small taberna 27, a tank abutting the rear wall was in function. Below the latest floor another tank was uncoverd. This was filled with ollae pertusae, used for flowers, one of perfume’s main ingredients. Before this craft-working structure the site was occupied by a channel on a north-east/south-west alignment, exiting onto the road, that was carefully built, flanked by stone walls and covered by slabs. In the subsequent phase, at the beginning of the 1st century B.C., the channel was cut by a well.

      In taberna 26, most of the investigated area corresponded with a cellar, largely destroyed by an earthquake, probably during the eruption. Its west wall had collapsed and the interior was filled with lapilli from the 79A.D. eruption. The upper part was very compact and mixed with rubble, timber beams, fragments of flooring, probably from the upper floor and plaster fragments from the ceiling. Several bronze objects lay below this layer of lapilli: containers, probably measures and elements from weighing scales, including three plates. A fragment of papyrus with several letters written on it was found inside an arm which was probably part of the scales. The fragment may have been a talisman thought to have some sort of magical power. A “carrot” amphora from Gaza with its lid and contents was also found. A well, dug in the 2nd century B.C., was uncovered on a strip of land along the west wall that was not touched by the construction of the cellar. The fill produced 25 coins.

      Two test trenches dug in the sidewalk in front of tabernae 26 and 27 reached natural, over which there was a 20 cm deep layer of Sarno limestone chips which may relate to the construction or robbing of the internal walls identified in 2009 in the trenches in front of tabernae 29 and 30.

    • Albert Ribera - Servicio de Investigación Arqueológica Municipal de Valencia 
    • Jean-Pierre Brun - Collège de France / Centre Jean Bérard, USR3133 CNRS – Ecole Française de Rome 

    Director

    • Albert Ribera - Servicio de Investigación Arqueológica Municipal de Valencia
    • Jean-Pierre Brun - Collège de France / Centre Jean Bérard, USR3133 CNRS – Ecole Française de Rome

    Team

    • Ophélie Vauxion
    • Pere Guillem - Institut Valencià de Conservació i Restauració
    • Pilar Iborra - Institut Valencià de Conservació i Restauració
    • Albert Ribera - Servicio de Investigación Arqueológica Municipal de Valencia
    • Jean-Pierre Brun - Collège de France / Centre Jean Bérard, USR3133 CNRS – Ecole Française de Rome
    • Macarena Bustamente Álvarez - Universidad de Cádiz
    • Adrien Malinas - Comune di Valencia
    • Esperança Huguet - Comune di Valencia
    • Guilhem Chapelin - Centre Jean Bérard

    Research Body

    • Centro Jean Bérard di Napoli
    • Sección de Arqueología del Ayuntamiento de Valencia y Institut Valencià de Conservació i Restauració

    Funding Body

    • Ministerio de Cultura de España
    • Ministère des affaires étrangères et européennes français
    • Sección de Arqueología del Ayuntamiento de Valencia y Institut Valencià de Conservació i Restauració

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