José M. Luzón, 2011, Regio VII, 6, 3. Casa della Diana ArcaizzanteThe 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.
Thursday 16 June 2011
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