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  • Regio V, insula 3 (Casa della Soffitta, V,3,3-4; pistrinum V,3,8)
  • Pompei
  • Colonia Cornelia Veneria Pompeianorum

    Credits

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    Monuments

    Periods

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    Chronology

    • 200 BC - 79 AD

    Season

      • During the 2008 campaign two trenches were dug whilst the study of buildings V,3,8, V,3,10 and V,4,6-8 was being undertaken. Trench 1 was dug in the centre of area P/A 59 in the Casa della soffitta (V, 3, 3-4). The excavation aimed to gain an understanding of the phases relating to the garden layout and of the building’s construction in general. The deepest layers showed a first phase of natural deposits. These were followed by substantial interventions for the laying out of the postica area and the garden, which occurred between the end of the 2nd century B.C. and the first century A.D. (holes for tree planting, traces of substantial layers of levelling and dumping). Trench 2 was dug in the western sector of room 2/A 60, situated to the east of the entrance behind the bread-oven in the domus which was refitted as the bakery V,3,8. The excavation aimed to define the phases of the installation of a bakery in a private house and in particular of the room behind it whose function was unknown. In fact, modern interventions had only partially removed the volcanic material of 79 A.D. Below the layers of primary and secondary deposition the structures necessary for the functioning of the bakery came to light: the dough-making machine (in a fairly good state of preservation) and the supports for the surfaces on which the dough was worked. These structures related to the moment of the bakery’s installation within a private house of the Samnite era, datable to the first half of the 1st century A.D. In 79 A.D. restoration work was being undertaken, of which clear evidence was found in the room (heaps of lime, floors in the process of being laid, signs of reinforcements for the walls). This evidence was sealed by the collapse (within which a number of containers lying on the floor were found) and the pumice from the eruption. Alongside the excavations work continued on the digitalization of the data from the stratigraphic deposits, the architectural complexes and finds. The excavation GIS, to date applied to the evidence from _insulae_ 7 and 14 of Regio VI and the first results from _Regio_ V, identifies every archaeological element (stratigraphic units, structural elements and architectural complex) and class of material (potter, plaster, coins, bone, metal, glass, charcoal, samples, inscriptions). A platform has been developed which has the ability to make choices on a typological and chronological basis, highlighting themes and trends in distribution (for example, representation of the data by phases, visualization of finds distribution in quantative percentages, the position of datable materials, the identification of structures according to building techniques) and to elaborate themed maps to characterise the area under examination, both on a general level (such as spatial distribution, the correct identification of structures necessary for the functioning of production complexes), and in detail (analysis and division into periods of the in situ evidence, analysis of the wall paintings, identification of features linked to production technology and commerce).
      • Two trenches were excavated and surface cleaning undertaken in buildings V,3,8 and V,4,6-8 in order to complete the study of these structures. In the house - V,3,8 and V,4,6-8si the work begun in 2008 continued, with the excavation of the structures used for the baking activities. The archaeological evidence which emerged from the complete excavation of the rear section of the bakery completed the picture of the substantial restorations being undertaken throughout the structure, which remained unfinished and buried by the material from the 79 A.D. eruption. The rear of the bakery was not in use at the time of the eruption (heaps of lime and deposited materials, incomplete flooring, work surfaces), as seen in numerous other commercial and craft-working activities at Pompeii. The upper levels were the result of secondary depositions of pyroclastic flows on a bed of pumice, distributed over an irregular and heavily sloped surface. Some layers had frequent inclusions (lapilli of various sizes), mixed with a sediment of sand and ash, which was friable or compact. In other layers showed only occasional pumice or none at all. In fact, the uppermost secondary deposit was only partially cut by digging operations in the 19th and 20th centuries. The room contained a dough-making machine made of stone with its iron mechanism still well-preserved, with a wooden plank placed so as to form an ‘L’, of which the masonry supporting pillars remained. The floor was a beaten-earth surface. During the 2009 campaign excavation continued inside building V,4,6-8 with trenches 2 and 3 and the cleaning of surfaces, with the aim of defining the dating for the creation of the complex and the functioning of the thermopolium-caupona in the final phases of the town’s life. Trench 1 produced very fragmentary evidence, badly damaged by the eruption, that was brought to light by the removal of the lapilli from inside the large cut, probably opened for the suspended restoration work (of which there were traces throughout the building). The deepest layers corresponded to the placing in position of reused materials (a series of Punic amphorae) having the combined function of increasing stability and providing drainage. The parallel-placed amphorae, in continuous rows, were bedded in a support of waterproof mortar with U-shaped housings. Even considering the numerous episodes of restructuring, it seemed clear that this structure was in use within the first half of the 1st century A.D. The evidence uncovered in building V,4,6-8 showed a continuous stratigraphic sequence datable to between the 1st century B.C. and 79 A.D., preceded by an earlier phase, datable to at least the second Samnite period. In the 1st century A.D. the _thermopolium-caupona_ was perfectly inserted into the commercial fabric of this sector of the town. Moreover, the overall picture gained from the 2009 excavations in rooms 1 and G confirms that in the phases between 62 A.D. and 79 A.D. restoration work became necessary (on the structures and drainage system), together with more substantial building work, including the installation of the cella vinaria in room F, which housed the dolia defossa.
      • The building faces on to the Via Nola, occupying the south-eastern sector of the insula. The earliest phase of the complex dates to the end of the 3rd century B.C., as attested by the opus africanum walls of the fauces, atrium 11 and the viridarium 7. The final layout of the domus took shape in the second half of the 2nd century B.C. with the building of structures in limestone and lava opus incertum. This was an atrium house with central impluvium, tablinium (10) and cubicula (3 and 4) facing onto the eastern side of the atrium. The par postica was constituted by room 6 and a small space (14) entered by a small arched doorway. Traces of the wall and floor decoration in the I Style were documented. The building had an upper storey, which was accessed from room 9. Between the 1st century B.C. and the first half of the 1st century A.D., the complex underwent a series of changes, which transformed the domus into a pistrinum. The plan remained unaltered, but new structures, for bread making, were built in the existing rooms changing their function. In the atrium, the impluvium was transformed into a double tank for washing grain, and three millstones were positioned on a masonry base, surrounded by a paved floor. Room 2, a shop relating to the preceding domus, became the place where the bread was worked; the opening on the Via di Nola was blocked and the mixing machine and a work counter were installed. The oven was inserted into the south-east corner of the atrium. Following the earthquake of 62 A.D., the damaged parts of the building, mainly in the pars postica, were restructured. At the moment of the eruption in 79 A.D., substantial restoration work was taking place, particularly in room 2, as documented by the 2008 and 2009 excavations.

    Bibliography

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