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  • Casa del Granduca Michele, Regio VI.5.5
  • Pompei
  • Pompeii

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    Monuments

    Periods

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    Chronology

    • 600 BC - 79 AD

    Season

      • In the so-called Protocasa del Granduca Michele other rooms of the 3rd century B.C. house have been uncovered (fauces, cubiculum). The decorative phases of some of the other rooms have been more clearly defined (tablinium, oecus), in which the opus signinum floors were preceded by simple, beaten earth surfaces. Of note is the floor of a cubiculum, constituted by a thick layer of ash, a type of pavement mentioned in the sources as pavimenta Graecanica. (Doria D’Auria)
      • In the proto-house of Grand Duke Michael trenches were dug in shop VI,5,6 and in the long stretch of pavement in front of the _domus_. The excavation of the shop established that it was contemporary with the first structure of the house, facing onto a road with a simple beaten earth surface which showed clear signs of cart wheel ruts. Below the 3rd century B.C. level a piece of wall, associated with archaic material, attests the area’s occupation in that period, although it was not possible to establish in what form. Excavation of the pavement revealed a series of beaten road surfaces contemporary with the house and its various building phases. These were finally substituted by a basalt road surface in the late 1st century B.C. (Dora D’Auria)
      • During April 2009 a trench was excavated in the House of Grand Duke Michael which aimed to clarify the spatial organisation in the rear part of the house during the Samnite phase. In fact, previous campaigns had exposed most of the rooms of the early house and had reconstructed the plan of the atrium and part of what was thought to be a hortus. However, the latest stratigraphic excavations provided unexpected data which showed this was not a simple garden but a porticoed area in the phase datable to the 2nd century B.C. In fact, in this period the early garden was monumentalised by the construction of a portico on at least two sides. This structure constitutes the earliest example of a peristyle built around a mid-level house, whose chronology makes it possible to move back the dating for the beginning of the generalised diffusion of this type of structure in mid-level Pompeian houses, which is normally considered to date to the final years of the 2nd century B.C. Also of interest was the presence of a room (9a) – with a window opening onto the portico – which extended further towards the back of the main house than did the other rooms accessible from the atrium, according to a typology which finds parallels in other houses of the mid-Samnite period at Pompeii, such as the House of the Orchard and the House of the Scientists.
      • During October 2010 new excavations were undertaken in the House of Grand Duke Michele which produced new data regarding the structure’s building history and private architecture in Pompeii in general. A trench dug between the _ala_ and the _atrium_ revealed elements useful for the reconstruction of the building and decoration of the Tuscan _atrium_ and the rooms surrounding it in the Samnite period. Part of the ala was exposed, decorated with a tessellated _opus signinum_ floor and I Style paintings datable to the mid 2nd century B.C. A trench was opened in the peristyle to continue that begun in 2009. This revealed an earlier courtyard with a colonnade, datable to the 2nd century B.C., surrounded by rooms on at least two sides and connected to a cistern. The courtyard, paved in the centre and without a _viridarium_, which is usually present at Pompeii, constitutes one of the earliest examples of this type within a mid-level house. From the excavations of 2004-2007 it is known that, as well as two residential structures and a _tablinum_, a small bath structure faced onto the courtyard on the north side. This was constituted by a _lavatio_, probably with a long bathtub and by a _sudatio_. This replaced an earlier bath structure with a terracotta hipbath, found in secondary deposition by the well in the courtyard, of a type known from Hellenistic and Roman contexts. In the service area 10, situated in correspondence with _posticum_ 21, the layer of ash from the eruption was removed, which had not been completely eliminated during the Bourbon excavations. This space was characterised by the presence of a latrine under the stairs and the entrance to a cellar, created inside an ancient cistern. On the _Vico della Fullonica_, which skirts the house to the east, a trench was opened immediately south of the _posticum_, in correspondence with a door leading into complex VI,5,7, which was blocked in the final phases of the town’s life. The sequence of occupation levels in this sector of the road was reconstructed for a period between the 1st century B.C. and the eruption.
      • This campaign concluded a project begun in 2003, which has documented the earliest phases of the house dating to the last decades of the 3rd century B.C. The eight excavation campaigns, twenty trenches opened inside the _domus_ and another five in the roads along its sides, documented the building history of the house. An almost complete reconstruction was made of the plan and decorative scheme of the earliest phase. During this final campaign, four trenches were opened. They provided data relating to the structure of the house and the rebuilding which took place at the beginning of the 1st century B.C. This involved the insertion of a peristyle in the rear sector, to the detriment of the earlier colonnaded courtyard surrounded by a series of rooms. In the front sector, a trench clarified the relationship between the shop/workshop and the house in the earliest phase. In fact, in 2006, the existence of a space with a commercial function, active from the first period of the house, was recorded. It was established that it occupied a larger space with respect to the late Republican phase, also including the area later occupied by the stair well. Furthermore, in this phase the shop/workshop was accessed from both the atrium and the _fauces_. Another trench investigated the south-western quadrant of the _atrium_, characterised, in the earliest phase, by a beaten floor and I style painting, of which the yellow-painted footing was found _in situ_. In the south-western corner, a tile surface came to light which had been used for the working of compounds used for making cement mortar during the restructuring work. In the peristyle, work continued in the area where, in 2009 and 2010, the existence of a colonnaded courtyard was documented, built of waterproof _opus signinum_ and also paved in the central sector. The southern side of the courtyard linked to a portico was exposed. Here, a plastered cement base, probably that of an altar, was uncovered. In the peristyle’s north-eastern corner, a window from the cellar occupying the space below the late Republican _tablinium_ and _triclinium_ was uncovered. These underground spaces were accessed by a staircase that was exposed during the 2010 excavations, in the north-eastern part of room 10. Traces of wall painting were present in the northern room of the cellar, perhaps part of a _lararium_. In the same area there was a room paved in _opus signinum_, with a slightly raised border around the sides, the same as that exposed in 2007 just to the west, the latter belonging to a larger room, interpreted as an anti-camera for a bathroom.

    Bibliography

      • F. Coarelli, F. Pesando et al., 2005, Il Progetto Regio VI. Campagna di scavo 2004, in Rivista di Studi Pompeiani 16: 166-207.
      • F. Coarelli, F. Pesando, 2004, Pompei: Progetto Regio VI, in ww.fastionline.org/docs/2004-26.pdf.
      • D. D’Auria, 2004, Domus VI, 5, 5 (Casa del Granduca Michele), in F. Coarelli, F. Pesando (a cura di), Il progetto Regio VI. Campagna di scavo 2003, in Rivista di studi pompeiani 15: 162-167.
      • D. D’Auria D., 2005, Domus VI, 5, 5 (Casa del Granduca Michele), in F. Coarelli, F. Pesando (a cura di), Il progetto Regio VI. Campagna di scavo 2004, in Rivista di studi pompeiani 16: 176-180.
      • D. D’Auria, 2008, Casa del Granduca Michele (VI, 5, 5-5.21), in F. Pesando et alii, Il progetto Regio VI. Campagna di scavo 2007, in Rivista di studi pompeiani 19: 104-106.
      • D. D’Auria, c.s., La Protocasa del Granduca Michele (VI, 5, 5): funzionalità degli ambienti, tipologie edilizie e decorazioni parietali, in corso di stampa in Linguaggi e tradizioni della pittura ellenistica in Italia e in Sicilia, Atti del Convegno di studio (Messina 24-25 Settembre 2009).
      • F. Pesando et al., 2006, Il progetto Regio VI. Campagna di scavo 2006, in Rivista di studi pompeiani 17: 48-55.
      • F. Pesando et al. 2007, Il progetto Regio VI: “I Primi Secoli di Pompei- Campagna di scavo 2006 - Le ricerche dell’Università di Napoli “L’Orientale” ”, in Rivista di studi pompeiani 18: 111-112.
      • D. D'Auria, 2010, La Casa del Granduca Michele (VI,5,5), in F. Pesando (a cura di), Rileggere Pompei III. Ricerche sulla Pompei sannitica. Campagne di scavo 2006-2008, Pompei: 41-54.
      • F. Coarelli et alii, 2006. Il Progetto Regio VI. Campagna di scavo 2005, in Rivista di studi pompeiani 17: 48-55.
      • D. D’Auria, 2011, La Protocasa del Granduca Michele (VI, 5, 5): funzionalità degli ambienti, tipologie edilizie e decorazioni parietali, in M. Torelli, G.F. La Torre (a cura di), Pittura ellenistica in Italia e Sicilia. Linguaggi e tradizioni. Atti del Convegno di Messina 24-25 Settembre 2009, Roma: 447-458.
      • D. D’Auria, c.s., Spatial organisation in middle-class houses of III and II c. B.C. at Pompeii: the example of Casa del Granduca Michele (VI,5,5), in Münchener Studies zur Alten Welt.
      • F. Pesando, D. D’Auria, M. Giglio, 2010, Le ricerche dell’Orientale di Napoli nella Casa del Granduca Michele (VI,5,5) e nel settore settentrionale dell’insula IX,7, in Rivista di studi pompeiani 21: 104-112.
      • F. Pesando, M.P. Guidobaldi, 2006, Gli “Ozi” di Ercole. Residenze di lusso a Pompei e Ercolano, Roma: 35-38.