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  • Regio VII, 6, 3. Casa della Diana Arcaizzante
  • Pompei
  • Pompeii

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    Monuments

    Periods

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    Chronology

    • 200 BC - 100 AD

    Season

      • The Casa della Diana Arcaizzante is one of the six houses constituting _insula_ VII, 6 (3.200 m2). In 2007 work on the study of _domus_ VII 6,3 began. The house had been excavated for the first time between 1760-1761 by the military engineer Karl Weber, on the orders of Roque J. Alcubierre. The discovery in the _viridarium_ of a marble statue of Diana in an archaic style (MNN nº 6008) gave the name to this _domus_. Following the 18th century excavations the area was partially back-filled and re-excavated in 1909 by Giuseppe Spano. In 1943, as a consequence of the bombing on Pompeii, it suffered substantial damage. For this reason, and despite the fact that it stands in the centre of the town, behind the forum, it has remained invisible both to visitors and researchers, buried below the collapse of the _insula_ structures. All of these events have created a problematic situation which has been worked on since 2007. The work undertaken in the house is as follows: 1. Cleaning and excavation of the floor levels (79 A.D.). 2. Virtual reconstruction of the house using 3D scanning. 3. Documentation and study of the objects found in the house, both during the 18th-20th century and contemporary excavations. 4. Documentation and study of the construction sequence. 5. Excavation of trenches in order to propose a chronological sequence which can explain the characteristics of the urban development in this area. The excavations so far have documented the house’s water supply system and floor levels, observing the existence of several decorative floors (mosaic, _signina pavimenta_, _sectilia pavimenta_ ) and of an _impluvium_ in the Tuscan _atrium_. The residential complex is a centuries-old structure gradually transformed from its creation until 79 A.D. The most substantial restructuring occurred during the transition between the 1st century B.C. and 1st century A.D., when the original house was divided into two parts (VII, 6, 3 - VII, 6, 38). At the same time the house was enlarged by the construction of a large cellar housing the kitchen and a latrine. This period also saw the restoration of the ornamental scheme in the house and of the _viridarium_ where the Diana was found. Numerous fragments of architectural terracottas from the roof and stucco from the ceilings and walls were found: painted dentil cornices, eaves cymas, terracotta drips in the form of theatrical masks or silenoi, facing plaques with palmette decoration and a fragment from an acroterion disc similar to those found in the area of the Doric temple in the Triangular Forum. Many fragments of painted and relief stucco were recovered which has made it possible to reconstruct the decorative motifs in several of the rooms in the _domus_. The study of the Casa della Diana Arcaizzante is part of a research project regarding the archaeological activities of the Bourbon kings Charles III and Ferdinand IV in the Vesuvian area in the 1700s.
      • Former excavation campaigns proved that the archaeological situation underneath the actually excavated areas of the “Casa della Diana Arcaizzante” is highly complex, with the presence of either underground structures belonging to the proper houses infrastructure and/or structures most likely associated to earlier constructions. Out of the former are striking for their importance components of the hydraulic system, such as water pipes at different levels and underground storage tanks. Extended knowledge on the latter (wall orientations, unearthed floors, stairs or basements etc.), would allow much deeper insight on different phases and sequences of construction in the area under investigation. Another problem was to resolve whether deterioration of excavated structures, especially walls, is ongoing or whether consolidation measures carried out by now can be considered to be successful. The work carried out aiming to contribute resolving the above mentioned situation was the following: 1. Geophysical prospection making use of ground penetrating radar (GPR)in selected floor areas of the house. 2. Three dimensional documentation using laser scanning (3DLS) of the small yard and surrounding wall structures where the statue of Diana Arcaizzante was found. 3. Restoration of the mortar used to consolidate the altar piece in the yard (viridarium). 4. Study and cataloguing of materials found in former excavations of the house. GPR data achieved during the 2011/2012 campaign suggested the presence of several pipe systems and deposits associated with the water supply of the domus, as well as additional hydraulic structures related to the discharge of waste water. The neuralgic center of the water supply system is the previously discovered impluvium in the Tuscan atrium.In another zone, structures possibly belonging to earlier constructions could be also identified. This data is the base for targeting future archaeological interventions. 3DLS provided a high resolution fully coloured three dimensional model of the viridarium of the house, partly excavated in the 2010 campaign and therefore not included in the scanner data taken in 2007. Comparison of the actual and former 3DLS data revealed that neither the patios walls nor others, in particular those delimiting rooms number 14 and 19 to the adjacent street (western side of the house), suffered significant deformation within the mentioned timespan. All this data and plus the extensive documentary evidence collected in previous excavations kept in Pompeii’s storage magazines was adapted for presentation to the general and specialized public through the projects website at: http://www.dianaarcaizante.com/.

    Bibliography

      • M. del Carmen Alonso, E. Castillo, F. Salcedo, M. Alonso, J. M. Luzón, I. Mañas, 2009, La casa de la Diana Arcaizante. Campaña 2007-2008. (Pompeya, VII, 6, 3). Excavaciones arqueológicas en el exterior. Informes y trabajos, nº 3 Instituto de Patrimonio Cultural. Ministerio de Cultura, 2009 http://www.mcu.es/patrimonio/docs/MC/IPHE/Publicaciones/IT/N3/6_diana_arcaizante_pompeya.pdf
      • J.M. Luzón, 2010, Dos veces destruida: Estudios de una casa de Pompeya, in Ars Magazine, nº 7, julio-septiembre: 92-103.