• Casa della Regina Carolina, Regio VIII.3.14
  • Pompei
  • Pompeii
  • Italy
  • Campania
  • Naples
  • Pompei


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  • No period data has been added yet


  • 100 BC - 79 AD


    • A three-year excavation project focusing on the garden area of the ‘Casa della Regina Carolina started in summer 2018. During the first season we completed LiDAR scan of the whole garden area and standing structures of the house, a GPR survey, and started the excavation in the northern portion of the garden. The trenches have revealed: 1) a thin soil layer pertaining to the ancient garden, only about 1 cm below the surface and much disturbed by the roots of the modern trees and plants that grow in the garden; 2) a ca. 50 cm-thick garden preparatory layer consisting in rubble (tile fragments, pieces of mortar, chunks of _opus_ _signinum_ floor, moulded plaster, wall painting fragments) and pottery; 3) below this layer, remains of a Republican building (a basalt threshold, interior to the building, which divided two rooms with floors in _opus_ _signinum_ with inserted polychrome limestone tesserae). Currently, we consider this earlier structure to have been a house, which was later demolished. The area occupied by this Republican house was completely remodelled by raising the surface level and creating the garden, which was in use at the time of the eruption. The chronological range revealed by the pottery found in the stratigraphy, the few fragments of wall paintings large enough to allow the identification of the decoration, and the Republican floors+ threshold discovered in situ suggest the following working chronology: a) 150-80 BC: floors of Republican house, dated on the basis of typology and exclusive use of coloured limestone (no marble) for the _crustae_ ; 1-62 AD: dating of diagnostic pieces recognized in the rubbly, garden preparatory layer (e.g., fragments of _opus_ _signinum_ floors with small white marble tesserae; Third Style wall paintings; part of a Dressel 2-4; part of a Cretan amphora type 3; a shard of Italic sigillata-conspectus 38.3); AD 62-79: creation and use of the garden. At this stage of the investigation, it is unclear whether the architectural and frescoes fragments recovered in the rubbly layer and dating to the 1st c. AD came from another part of the house we have identified at the bottom of our trenches, possibly damaged and knock down after the earthquake of 62, or whether the rubble was transported from elsewhere. The latest identifiable ceramic in the garden preparatory layer gives as _terminus_ _post_ _quem_ for the construction of the garden the reign of Nero. Whether indeed the remodelling of the entire property occurred in the aftermath of the AD 62 earthquake or a few years earlier or later remains to be confirmed.
    • In summer 2019, we excavated five 5x5m units in locations that were either adjacent to the Hellenistic-period finds uncovered in 2018 or identified in GPR survey as containing potentially significant anomalies. Immediately below the surface humus, we found the remains of the 79 CE garden surface (Figure 1 for major features from all excavated phases). Although the upper surface of the ancient garden has been heavily disturbed by modern activities since its initial exposure, many of its major features are still preserved. Beneath this garden were earlier structures, probably domestic. At least two phases of building are detectable beneath the 79 CE garden: an initial construction in the second or first century BCE (Phase 1), and a subsequent phase of rebuilding and renovation, possibly Augustan in date (Phase 2). Between these earlier structures and the later garden is a layer of earlier first-century CE fill. At some point in the first century CE, the remains of the earlier structures were covered with fill and a garden constructed. Since the latest datable material in the fill is Neronian (54–68 CE), this destruction and rebuilding may relate to the 62 CE earthquake. The owners of the first-century ‘Casa della Regina Carolina’ may have used this rebuilding as an opportunity to acquire an adjacent house plot and convert it into a large garden (Phase 3). Following initial excavations in the 19th century (Phase 5), the garden was replanted (Phase 6). Our excavations have allowed us to partly reconstruct the layout not only of the ancient garden but also of this early modern garden, whose design may in fact preserve some clues about its ancient predecessor. The identified chronological phases are: Phase 1, the earlier phase detected: a Republican house of the late 2nd or 1st century BC, oriented E-W with an entrance from ‘vicolo dei Dodici Dei’; two engaged columns indicate that this structure had a peristyle or semi-peristyle. Phase 2, 1st c. BC to AD 62: subsequent constructions and alterations before the 62 CE earthquake. A number of changes took place in this time span, but it remains unclear how many of these alterations are contemporary with each other; they include the construction of the N-S perimeter wall now visible on the W side of the garden. Phase 3: post- 62 CE redevelopment of the space: 62-79 AD: The thick layer of architectural rubble and pottery sherds discovered includes, as the most recent datable finds, pottery dated to the Neronian period and hence our working hypothesis that the earlier Republican house was seriously damaged in the earthquake of 62, giving the opportunity for a major redevelopment of the area. The ground level was raised by ca. 60 cm by dumping and levelling the rubble; on top of this layer, garden soil was deposited. The excavation identified a series of planting pits and root cavities. Phase 4: destruction by the eruption of AD 79. Phase 5a&b: late 18th and early 19th century excavations. Phase 6: early 20th century, replanting of garden: creation of rectangular garden beds with tile edging and walkways, discovered in our excavation just 1-2 cm below the surface. Phase 7: 1950s-1970s, use of area for cultivation. Photographs from the W. and S. Jashemski photographic archive show fruit trees and a vineyard in the garden.


    • Caitlín Barrett - Kathryn Gleason - Annalisa Marzano - with additional contributions on palynology by Dafna Langgut . 2020. The Casa della Regina Carolina (CRC) Project, Pompeii: Preliminary Report on 2018 and 2019 Field Seasons . FOLD&R Italy: 492.


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