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  • Settore Porta Ercolano. Via dei sepolcri, bottega NE, n. 29.
  • Pompei
  • Colonia Veneria Cornelia Pompeianorum
  • Italy
  • Campania
  • Naples
  • Pompei

Credits

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Monuments

Periods

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Chronology

  • 1 AD - 99 AD

Season

    • The intervention in via dei Sepolcri 29 is the first step in a larger programme directed by Laëtitia Cavassa (Centre Jean Bérard, USR 3133, CNRS-EFR), Nicolas Laubry (Université Paris-Est Créteil/CRHEC) and Nicolas Monteix (Université de Rouen), looking at the area immediately outside the Porta Ercolano. The project is called “The organization, management and transformation of a suburban zone: the area of the Porta Ercolano at Pompeii, between funerary space and commercial space”. The 2012 excavations concentrated on the pottery workshop situated in via dei Sepolcri 29. Pottery production in Pompeii is a recurring subject. We have many sources (frescoes, epigraphy, pottery etc), but the kilns are fundamental elements that need to be investigated. To date only three are preserved and visible: the _atelier_ of the lamps (I, 20, 3) comprising two kilns and the one situated along the via dei sepolcri outside the Porta Ercolano. The latter was discovered and excavated in 1838; unfortunately, we have little information about this intervention. The presence of a kiln and the discovery of “thirty pots of various shapes and sizes, including one with a long handle” were noted. This season’s objectives were the creation of a detailed plan of the workshop, the identification of the pottery production or productions, the dating of the kiln, and identification of the spaces used for the various aspects of the pottery making process (throwing-wheel, settling tanks etc). On the ground floor, the workshop had two rooms. It measured 10.32 m in length and was 5.10 m wide to the south, narrowing to 3.41 m in the northern part. The workshop was entered to the south via a threshold typical of such structures. In the south-eastern corner of the first room, a staircase, of which only the base was preserved, led up to the first floor. A _lararium_ was preserved in the west wall and a door was visible leading into workshop 30. A stratigraphic sequence was documented in the western part of this room that ran from the levels pre-dating the 62/63 A.D. earthquake to 79 A.D. Evidence was documented which identified the presence in this sector of pottery production prior to 62 A.D., that included kiln wasters (relating to the production of small thin walled beakers). A quadrangular kiln (Cuomo di Caprio type IIb) was situated in the north-eastern corner of the second room. The structure had a quadrangular furnace with a central corridor. In the south-western corner of the room, a layer of lapilli from the 79 A.D. eruption was revealed, beneath which several unfired vases (in the drying phase) were preserved. This discovery is unique at Pompeii and confirms that in 79 A.D. the kiln was producing small thin-walled beakers with vertical handles and incised decoration, similar to the Mayet XX or Marabini XLVII types, a form well-documented during Pompeii’s final phase. At the first floor height, other structures were visible suggesting the existence of other spaces.
    • The excavations in via dei Sepolcri 29 formed the second stage of the project entitled “The organization, management and transformation of a suburban zone: The area of the Porta Ercolano opf Pompeii, between funerary space and commercial space”, directed by Laëtitia Cavassa (Centre Jean Bérard, USR 3133, CNRS-EFR), Nicolas Laubry (Université Paris-Est Créteil/CRHEC) and Nicolas Monteix (Université de Rouen). The 2013 campaign concentrated on the excavation of the levels pre-dating the final 79 A.D. phase of the workshop. This season’s aims were to document the chronology of the workshop and the kiln’s construction, and to gain an understanding of the relationship between the workshop and the _via superior_, situated at a lower level. A trench was opened outside the workshop in order to gain an understanding of any relationships existing between the shop, the portico that preceded the series of shops in this area and the road. The trench showed that the portico was certainly built at the same time as the shop as part of the same building programme. In the first room inside the workshop, a number of pits were excavated in the layers underlying the last 79 A.D. level. The fills contained a large quantity of badly misshapen over-fired pottery, evidence of onsite production. All fragments were from thin walled ware vases. Their typology showed that pottery was produced here from at least the Tiberian period until 79 A.D. Although there was no dating evidence for the construction of the kiln itself, these kiln wasters provided the dating for the period in which it was functioning. There were also several pits whose fill contained a large amount of archaeological material in the second room. The excavated trenches provided a better insight into the history of this structure, from the first occupation traces dating to the 2nd century B.C. until the eruption of Vesuvius.
    • This season’s work as part of the “Organizzazione, gestione e trasformazione di una zona suburbana: il settore della Porta Ercolano di Pompei, tra spazio funerario e spazio commerciale” project concentrated on workshops 10 and 13 (previously unexcavated) and workshops 28-30 (excavated in 2014). _Workshops 10 and 13_ These structures were excavated with the aim of understanding the modes and periods in which the sector north of the Via dei Sepolcri was structured as a series of workshops opening onto a colonnaded portico, which from the entrance to the Villa of the Mosaic Columns, runs parallel to the road towards the west. The choice of investigating these workshops also depended on the possibility of putting them into relation with the structure of the villa. Firstly, a 1:50 plan and elevation was drawn, the base both for the excavations and study of the walls. The excavation, mainly concentrated on the rear parts of workshops 10 and 13, did not produce the hoped for results. In fact, both 10 and 13 were, at the time of the eruption, undergoing restructuring, and in the case of workshop 13, excavations carried out in the 1960s had disturbed the stratigraphy. _The excavation of workshop 10_ Work concentrated on room 10.2 to the rear of the workshop. The entire room was excavated down to natural. The situation had been compromised by work that was being undertaken at the moment of the eruption. A large pit extending across almost the entire room cut the natural layer on which the foundations of the perimeter walls were built. At the time of the eruption, the room was still not paved. To the east, in room 10.3 it was only possible to expose the floor in use in 79 A.D. A few centimetres of the eruption stratigraphy was preserved in the room. The floor was a simple beaten earth surface and the wall plaster rested on top of it. It is probable that a new floor was going to be laid. _The excavation of workshop 13_ Work was concentrated to the rear in room 3 where a kiln/oven was present in the south-west corner (the mouth of the kiln/oven was situated in the adjacent room 2). It was not possible to establish the function of this structure. A large modern trench, probably relating to the 1960s excavations, was exposed. The floor make up was present in the eastern part of the room but there was no trace of the actual floor, which had probably been removed or was still to be laid in 79 A.D. The position of the modern trench made it impossible to establish whether the kiln/oven had been built at the same time as this floor or sometime later. The excavation of room 2 in front of the kiln/oven mouth and in the western part of the room showed the stratigraphy to have been disturbed by several elements. In front of the kiln/oven were a number of small pits containing burnt remains, ash, and modern materials (majolica) indicating the structure’s use in the modern period. The analyses of the standing structures suggests that all the walls of the workshops to the east and west of the entrance to the Villa of the Mosaic Columns, were built in a single construction phase. At present, the evidence from the pottery finds is insufficient to provide a date for this phase, neither is it possible at present to establish whether the workshops to the west (15-30) were part of this same project. _The excavation of workshops/shops 28 and 30_ The work completed the documentation and investigated some questions that had been left suspended. A photogrammetric survey was made of the potter’s workshop. _Workshop 28_ Several trenches were opened with the aim of further defining some elements uncovered in 2014. A trench was opened by the well, in a space in which the latest level was badly damaged or no longer visible. An earlier structure was visible but its edges and function were not clear. In the north-east corner, part of the unfired vases were removed in order to gain an understanding of what they rested on. It was seen that the vases seemed to rest directly on a layer of sediment that covered the workshop’s final occupation layer. They were not resting on any structure (shelf...). _Workshop 30_ The excavations in room 30-1 completed knowledge of the workshop’s organisation. Two main elements emerged. A channel pre-dating the kiln was uncovered. However, no level in connection with the portico was visible. In room 30-2, the final occupation levels associated with the working of the kiln were intercepted. They contained material relating to the workshop’s production. These levels overlay an earlier occupation layer, the first in phase with the kiln. It contained a large amount of pottery fragments (mainly thin walled small jugs with sandy decoration produced in the workshop). _Sectors 30-4 and 30-5_ One of the main objectives was to gain an understanding of the last workshop in the portico and how it was entered from the west. The excavations exposed the foundations of the west wall, built abutting the terrain, and a pre-Roman burial. Although the latter was covered by modern/contemporary levels, it was intact. The tomb group was made up of 12 ceramic vessels and elements from metal fibulae, datable to around the 4th century B.C. The vases were one _lekane_ and lid, two red-figure _lekythoi_, a _kantheros_ with monochrome “sovvradipinta” decoration, an _oinochoe_, an amphora and _askos_ in red-figure ware, cup and small cup in black glaze ware, and a coarse ware amphora. The study of this assemblage will provide details on dating and production areas. Two more burials were found to the west: burial SP30060 was empty, excavated in the past, and burial SP30099 that will be studied in coming months. The excavations also revealed a flight of steps that provided access to workshop 30. The investigation of this sector showed that the west wall of workshop 30 was built abutting the terrain, respecting the presence of the burials. They must have been marked by a tumulus, which is no longer visible as it was probably removed in the past.
    • Research on pottery production at Pompeii has begun as part of the Centre Jean Bérard (CNRS – EFR) project on “Craft working and the economy at Pompeii”. The study was undertaken in collaboration with the Superintendency of Pompeii and financed by the French Foreign Office via the Centre Jean Bérard and the Centre Camille Jullian (Aix Marseille Université, CNRS). Pottery production in Pompeii is principally illustrated by two _ateliers_. The first is situated outside the walls, by the Porta Ercolano necropolis, at n. 28-30 of Via dei Sepolcri. The excavations carried out in the _atelier_ were part of a wider project entitled “The organisation, management, and transformation of a suburban zone: the sector of Porta Ercolano in Pompeii, between funerary area and commercial space”. The excavations undertaken between 2012 and 2016 made it possible to reconstruct the production chain of the potter who was working here at the time of the eruption. In 2016, the research programme was extended to a second _atelier_ situated in _Regio_ I, _insula_ 20, 2-3, by the Porta Nocera. This was an _atelier__- shop that occupied several rooms of a Republican _domus_. The complex was investigated in 1958-59 by A. Maiuri who uncovered two kilns, a settling tank, and some of the products made there. Indeed, 61 lamps, 24 moulds, and over 100 _frittili_ were found. In the room facing onto the street, probably the shop entrance, the presence of a bench was noted and interpreted as a shop-counter. Moreover, the workshop was also in direct communication with a series of spaces destined for wine production. In 1973, G. Cirelli Irelli dug a number of control trenches that were published with the lamps in 1977. The principal objective of extending the research to the Porta Nocera _atelier_ was to make a transversal study of pottery production at Pompeii in 79 A.D., comparing the two production complexes. The 2016 research was undertaken, via cleaning and small _sondages_, in order to study the part of the _domus_ and the organisation of the production structures attached to it. The production structures were installed in the rooms of the _domus_ facing onto the street, occupying a surface area of just over 100 m2 (11.70 x 9 m), divided between four rooms. In the room facing the road, probably the shop entrance, a bench interpreted as a shop counter was noted and on the opposite side two tanks interpreted as being for the settling and preparation of clay and for cooling the tools. Two kilns were excavated in the interior rooms. The smallest was circular with the firing floor supported by a single pillar, while the large kiln had a vertical firing chamber, quadrangular plan and firing floor on supporting arches. Two other rooms are difficult to interpret. The excavations carried out in the kiln room further clarified the _atelier’s_ function. Indeed, the remains of a potter’s wheel emerged, which had not been discovered during the mid 20th century exploration. It was formed by an Italic amphora fragment inserted into the ground, thus creating a cavity, at the centre of which were the negative remains of the fixed axle for the wheel. This is the fifth potter’s wheel discovered at Pompeii; the first four were found in 2014 in the Porta Ercolano _atelier_. This discovery completes the panorama of structures used in the production line. Furthermore, during the cleaning of the area in front of the kilns, several layers were identified and investigated that produced a large quantity of pottery indicating the type of production that took place in this _atelier_. All of the collected data has enabled the reconstruction of the _atelier’s_ history and to define with greater precision the organisation of the spaces associated with it. This research will be completed in 2017.

Bibliography

    • S. Zanella, L. Cavassa, N. Laubry, N. Monteix, B. Lemaire, 2016, Pompéi, Porta Ercolano : organisation, gestion et transformations d’une zone suburbaine, dans Chronique des activités archéologiques de l’École française de Rome, 2016. http://cefr.revues.org/1581.
    • S. Zanella, L. Cavassa, N. Laubry, N. Monteix, G. Chapelin, A. Coutelas, A.D. Ryrko, M. Errera, L. Gerardin, B. Lemaire, R. Macario, F. Ortis, V. Pellegrino, G. Sachau-Carcel, Pompéi, Porta Ercolano : organisation, gestion et transformations d’une zone suburbaine, dans Chronique des activités archéologiques de l’École française de Rome, 2017. https://cefr.revues.org/1676.
    • Link(s): sito internet Soprintendenza di Pompeii: http://www.pompeiisites.org/Sezione.jsp?titolo=Pompei%2C+la+bottega+del+vasaio+sulla+Via+dei+Sepolcri&idSezione=1599 Sito internet del Ministero dei Beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo: http://www.beniculturali.it/mibac/export/MiBAC/sito-MiBAC/Contenuti/MibacUnif/Comunicati/visualizza_asset.html_786233483.html Sito dell’Ecole Française de Rome http://www.efrome.it/la-recherche/programmes/detail-programme/detail/organisation-gestion-et-transformations-dune-zone-suburbaine-le-secteur-de-la-porte-dhercul.html Sito internet del CNRS: http://www.cnrs.fr/inshs/
    • L. Cavassa, B. Lemaire, J. M. Piffetau, Pompéi, Via dei sepolcri, boutique NE, n. 29 : l’atelier de potier, Chronique des activités archéologiques de l’École française de Rome [En ligne], Italie du Sud, mis en ligne le 09 avril 2013, consulté le 21 mai 2013. URL : http://cefr.revues.org/881
    • L.Cavassa, B. Lemaire, J.M. Piffeteau, 2012, « Pompéi, Via dei sepolcri, boutique NE, n. 29 : l’atelier de potier ». Chronique des activités archéologiques de l’École française de Rome.
    • L.Cavassa, B. Lemaire, J.M. Piffeteau, 2013, « Pompéi. L’atelier de potier ». Chronique des activités archéologiques de l’École française de Rome, 9 april.
    • L.Cavassa, B. Lemaire, G. Chapelin, A. Lacombe, J.M. Piffeteau, G. Stelo, 2014, « Pompéi. L’atelier de potier de la via dei Sepolcri, 29 ». Chronique des activités archéologiques de l’École française de Rome, 6 mars.
    • L.Cavassa, B. Lemaire, G. Chapelin, A. Lacombe, 2015, « Pompéi. L’atelier de potier de la via dei Sepolcri, 28-30 ». Chronique des activités archéologiques de l’École française de Rome, 21 janvier.