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  • Villa Pausilypon
  • Napoli
  • Pausilypon

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    Monuments

    Periods

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    Chronology

    • 100

    Season

      • Excavation and restoration continued at villa _Pausilypon_, built by the equestrian _Publius Vedius Pollione_ from Benevento and left by him to _Augustus_. The investigation looked at the _odeion_, completely uncovered in the first excavations of the 19th century by Mons. Di Pietro. Facing the theatre and abutting a hill directly above the sea, the building faced onto a garden with a long portico of brick built columns faced with plaster. The _odeion_ built in the early Augustan period and inserted into a large rectangular hall with _opus reticulatum_ walls, comprised a small _cavea_ of six tiers and a low rectilinear stage. Perhaps during the Neronian period the structure was monumentalized by the addition at the centre of the _scaena_ of an apse with four large niches and of an imperial aula above the _summa cavea_. At the centre of the _aula_ an apse in _opus latericius_ housed a statue of the emperor, of which part of the masonry base was preserved. The hall was entered from the side via ramps, necessary for the transit of the princeps’ litter and perhaps for sacrificial animals. A heightening of the stage dated to a subsequent phase (still within the 1st century A.D.). The stage was given a frons prosceni with semicircular and rectangular niches, and the final three tiers of the cavea were built. Perhaps damaged by an earthquake, the theatre building was not restored. It finally collapsed at the end of the 1st century A.D. or shortly afterwards. Exploration of the surrounding area concentrated on the main entrance to the _odeion_, a large quadrangular hall (circa 15 m long) and a beautiful _opus sectile_ floor (African, giallo antico, portasanta and pavonazzetto marbles). The lower parts of the walls were veneered with marble, the upper parts decorated with plaster and frescoes. Fragments of the statues and their bases that adorned the adjacent garden were found.
      • Excavations were reopened on the _odeion_ in the _Pausilypon_ complex. Vegetation was cleared from the upper terrace, overlooking the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Pozzuoli, and a stairway was investigated which provided access to the terrace from a portico. The entrance and walls of the stairway were frescoed with a monochrome vermillion red background with yellow framing and a blue dado. The exploration of the eastern corner of the _odeion_ quarter was completed. This was occupied by a large hall with doors and windows, similar to the adjacent one with _opus sectile_ floors and walls. Over time, with the addition of _opus reticulatum_ dividing walls, the hall was transformed into three smaller rooms, paved with a white mosaic floor. Two had tiled pitched roofs and frescoed ceilings, whilst the room in the corner of the portico, probably a _biclinium_, had a vaulted roof. The _odeion_ was also surrounded by a colonnade on its eastern side. This had a tiled roof supported on plastered masonry columns. During the cleaning of the eastern wing of the portico a white marble composite Corinthian capital and fragments of other capitals from pilasters were found. The portico was articulated by quadrangular semi-pilasters (0.60 x 0.60 m), abutting the back wall, veneered with fluted portasanta marble, with cornices of rosso antico and crowned by capitals. The semi-pilasters framed large windows, from which in antiquity it must have been possible to enjoy a view of the sea. Excavation of the garden revealed that the present ground level corresponds with the ancient one (covered by only a few centimetres of _humus_ ). The area investigated was adorned with plants placed in small flower-pots, with the typical holes for roots, buried in correspondence with the semi-pilasters of the portico.

    Bibliography

      • S. De Caro 2001, L’attività della Soprintendenza archeologica di Napoli e Caserta nel 2000, in Atti del XL Convegno di Studi sulla Magna Grecia (Taranto 2000), Taranto: 865-905.
      • S. De Caro 2003, L’attività della Soprintendenza archeologica di Napoli e Caserta nel 2002, in Atti del XLII Convegno di Studi sulla Magna Grecia (Taranto 2002), Taranto: 569-621.