• Casa dei Gladiatori (V 5, 3)
  • Pompei
  • Pompeii


    • failed to get markup 'credits_'
    • AIAC_logo logo



    • No period data has been added yet


    • 600 BC - 500 BC
    • 300 BC - 120 BC
    • 1 AD - 79 AD


      • The study of _Insula_ 5 in _Regio_ V, is aimed at clarifying the historical development of the architecture and urban layout of an area of the town that has been largely overlooked, situated in the north-eastern quadrant of the town, a few tens of metres from the line of the fortifications and facing directly onto the Via di Nola. In 2004 the first trenches were excavated with the aim of defining the construction phases of the entire _insula_. In fact, past excavations in neighbouring areas had demonstrated that the entire area, occupied from the Bronze Age onwards, had been enclosed in the archaic period by the primitive curtain wall in pappamonte stone. In 1947 Maiuri had trial trenches dug in various parts of the house, “with the aim of ascertaining the existence of structures pre-dating the construction of the house”. Therefore, the object of the campaign in September 2004 was to reopen Maiuri’s trenches and expose the _pappamonte_ structure in order to define its dimensions and the absolute levels, as they had not been documented in the meagre excavation report of 1947. The aim was also to directly observe the structures and describe them in detail. Furthermore, the reopening of the trench would make it possible to check the stratigraphy, only sketchily described, and look for elements useful for defining the relative and absolute chronology of the _pappamonte_ structure and of the other structures identified by the preceding excavation. It must be stated that it was not possible to widen the trench as there was the risk of further compromising the already precarious state of preservation of the _opus signinum_ paving in the peristyle (b) and room (f) and the stability of the peristyle colonnade and surrounding structures. The trenches below the south portico of the peristyle (b) led to the discovery of a substantial structure in _pappamonte_ blocks, which numerous fragments of associated pottery dated to the beginning of the 6th century B.C. This structure was in use until the end of the 5th century B.C. and was partially destroyed during the successive construction phases of the _Insula_, when the entire area was divided into regular lots, on which the houses were built.
      • In September 2005 recording and excavation continued in the House of the Gladiators (V 5, 3). The 2004 campaign had checked the results of Maiuri’s 1947 excavations and brought to light the remains of an important structure of large _pappamonte_ stone blocks dating to the archaic period. This structure had only been identified and outlined by Maiuri, who had exposed its upper surface without deepening the excavation. This year’s excavations aimed to define the extension and, above all, the plan of the room paved in _opus signinum_ and at the same time check the possible continuation of the archaic _pappamonte_ structure underlying the floor itself. The results of this campaign further clarified the events relating to the building history of this part of _Insula_ 5 in _Regio_ V. Firstly, it was seen that the _pappamonte_ structure did not continue beyond the extension of the _opus signinum_ floor of the Hellenistic house, although it must be stated that to the west of the floor the archaic layers had been totally removed during the construction of the late Hellenistic and then Roman house, that is the present House of the Gladiators. In subsequent campaigns it is hoped to clarify the relationship between this structure and the stretch of _pappamonte_ wall discovered in the garden area by the 1947 excavations. In fact, Maiuri had a trench dug that was aligned with the garden’s longitudinal axis which brought to light a short stretch of a _pappamonte_ structure. The latter consisted of two blocks placed side by side along the west side of the trench and resting directly on natural (Archivio SAP, A VII 20, Diary of clearance and restoration undertaken in relation to “war damage”. Year 1947, in particular the document: “Excavations undertaken for study purposes in the area of the town from the 1st-31st July 1947”). The structure was at a right angle to that found in trench 1 (2004) and on the same axis as the entrance to the garden from the south portico. Therefore, the presence of a building with a complex plan is prefigured, of which even a general outline is difficult to reconstruct for the moment.
      • In 2004 and 2005, as part of the study of _Insula_ 5 in _Regio_ V, two excavation campaigns were carried out with the aim of checking the results of Amadeo Maiuri’s 1947 excavations in House V 5, 3 and to clarify the development phases of the entire _Insula_ from the archaic period until the construction of the late Republican domus. At the same time an analysis was made of the vertical stratigraphy present in the _Insula_ and the decorative schemes were photographed. The majority had never been recorded and today are in a badly degraded state. A digital survey was also made of the parts of the _Insula_ that were exposed. All the information will be fed into a database which will contain all the data produced by the excavations and finds study. Between 2006 and 2007 the excavation was interrupted because the structures and decorations of the entire _insula_ were restored by the Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii. In 2008 with the restoration completed, new excavations were carried out in the garden. This campaign was undertaken in collaboration with Prof. Mark Robinson of Oxford University. Its aims were: 1) acquisition of new data regarding the development of Insula V 5 from the archaic to late Republican period and checking of Maiuri’s trenches in the garden area; 2) excavation of the garden areas not examined by Maiuri in order to reconstruct the planting in the garden at the time of the eruption in 79 A.D.; 3) deepen the excavation below the archaic ground level in order to clarify the stratigraphy of the area in the prehistoric period. All three objectives were reached, although it was necessary to reopen the trenches to complete the excavation in 2009 (see below).
      • The garden of the Roman house had suffered heavy disturbance caused by modern interventions (restorations in the 1970s, 80s and 2006-2007, modern planting in the garden at the end of the 19th-beginning of the 20th century), however, undisturbed areas were found where parts of the garden dating to the last occupation phase of the house were identified. The deepening of the excavation also revealed a small patch of the earlier garden layout, probably dating to the beginning of the 1st century A.D. In fact, the surface of the earliest garden was obliterated by a dump containing a Claudian coin. The Roman garden overlay the robber trenches relating to the walls from the previous parcelling out of the insula, dating to the late Hellenistic phase (3rd-2nd century B.C.) The walls of these preceding houses were completely dismantled, the stones recovered and the lime discarded. In fact, the entire garden area was disturbed by two large pits, one almost 6 m wide, only very partially excavated. Despite the presence of these Roman rubbish pits, small sections of structures in pappamonte blocks were identified, both inside Maiuri’s 1947 trench in the centre of the garden and in trench (3), situated on the eastern side of the house’s garden. The stone blocks belonged to terracing built to level the area occupied by Insula V 5. The find in trench (3) of another pappamonte block at a right angle to the blocks in the terrace wall suggests the presence of a more complex structure, partially destroyed and partially reused, at least at foundation level, by the subsequent Hellenistic houses. At the same time two trenches (3 x 3 m) were dug in the north-eastern and south-eastern corners of the garden in order to document the stratigraphic sequence present below the layer of grey cinerite which at Pompeii is usually considered to be sterile soil below the archaic levels. The excavations revealed a complex geo-archaeological sequence with occupation levels dating to the Eneolithic period and the Bronze Age.
      • As part of the research project on Insula 5 in the _Regio_ V a final excavation campaign opened a trench of circa 2 x 3 m in the south-west corner of the garden of the House of the Gladiator. The aim was to further define the reconstruction of the garden layout and planting at the moment of the eruption in 79A.D. and identify any earlier phases of planting. Despite substantial modern disturbance, it was possible to identify a small portion of the garden dating to the final phase of the house’s occupation. Below the garden there was a level of Roman fill obliterating the remains of a cobble paving belonging to a house of Samnite date (another section of the same floor had previously come to light during the 2008-2009 excavations). A small trench (circa 1.5 x 1.5 m) was opened in the vicolo west of the house, where, in correspondence with its rear entrance, the Archaic (6th century B.C.) ground surface was seen to emerge. The trench aimed to further investigate below the Archaic surface in order to clarify the stratigraphy of the area in the prehistoric and proto-historic periods. A complex geo-archaeological sequence was identified with occupation levels dating to the Eneolithic period and the Bronze Age, as had emerged in trenches excavated in the garden in 2008-2009. Along side the limited excavations work continued on the finds, with the cataloguing and photography of the pottery from trenches 1 and 3.


      • D. Esposito, P. Kastenmeier, C. Imperatore, 2010, A contribution to our understanding of Archaic Pompeii. The excavations in the House of the Gladiators, in S. Ellis (ed.), The Making of Pompeii: studies in the history and urban development of an ancient city, Journal of Roman Archaeology Suppl. Series 2010, c.s..
      • D. Esposito, 2008, Un contributo allo studio di Pompei arcaica. I saggi nella Regio V, Ins. 5 (Casa dei Gladiatori), in P. G. Guzzo, M. P. Guidobaldi (a cura di), Nuove ricerche archeologiche nell’area vesuviana (scavi 2003-2006), Atti del Convegno Internazionale, Roma 1-3 febbraio 2007, Roma: 71-80.
      • D. Esposito, P. Kastenmeier, 2008, Pompei Regio V Insula 5. Relazione sulla seconda campagna di scavi, in Rivista di Studi Pompeiani 18/2007, Roma: 113-116.
      • D. Esposito, 2006, Pompei Regio V Insula 5. Relazione sulla prima campagna di scavi, Rivista di Studi Pompeiani 16/2005, Roma: 156-166.
      • D. Esposito, P. Kastenmeier, C. Imperatore, 2011, Excavations in the Caserma dei Gladiatori: a contribution to our understanding of Archaic Pompeii, in S. J. R. Ellis (Ed.), The Making of Pompeii: studies in the history and urban development of an ancient town, Journal of Roman Archaeology, Suppl. Series 85, 2011, pp. 112-137