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.
- Laëtitia Cavassa - Centre Jean Bérard, USR 3133 CNRS – École Française de Rome
- Grete Stefani - Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei
- Bastien Lemaire - Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier III
- John-Marc Piffeteau - EPHE, UMR 8210 ANHIMA
- Nicola Meluziis
- Guilhem Chapelin - Centre Jean Bérard, USR 3133, CNRS-EFR, Ecole Française de Rome
- Jacques-Adrien Delorme - Ecole d’Architecture Paris - La Villette
- Aline Lacombe - Service archéologique d’Aix-en-Provence
- Centre Jean Bérard, USR3133 CNRS - Ecole Française de Rome
- Ministre des Affaires étrangères
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