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13 Boscoreale. Villa della Pisanella. Villa rustica di Lucio Cecilio Giocondo alla Pisanella.

Excavated 1895-1899.

 

Part 1      Part 2      Part 3      Part 4

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018.  Rooms at west end on villa. Model of villa in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Rooms at west end on villa. Model of villa in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. The three rooms in the corner are cubiculum “D” (left rear), porters room “B” (right rear) and the large room “C” which was under the road at the time of excavation.
Centre is the room at the end of corridor “E” with grain mill and bread oven with triclinium “F” behind. 
Left are calidarium “O” with mosaic floor, boiler room “L” and cubiculum “G”. Model of villa in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. The three rooms in the corner are cubiculum “D” (left rear), porters room “B” (right rear) and the large room “C” which was under the road at the time of excavation.

Centre is the room at the end of corridor “E” with grain mill and bread oven with triclinium “F” behind.

Left are calidarium “O” with mosaic floor, boiler room “L” and cubiculum “G”.

Model of villa in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

 

Room B, Porter’s room or Cubicolo dell'atriensis (see Pasqui, p.427)

 

This room, being at the western end of the short walkway leading from the entrance doorway, was well-placed for the duties of this servant.

It was the first of that series of rooms, which, as we mentioned, constituted the owners’ quarters.

 

It was located between two doorways, in the guise of a small entrance hall, and enlarged on the right to make room for a couch/bed. The doorway that gave onto the atrium closed from inside; and this was clearly indicated by the signs of the frame, i.e. by remaining nails and plaster from the trace, which finished at 0.14 m from the corner of the door jamb. On the threshold of this doorway lay the skeleton of a dog, whose extended chain demonstrated how the animal had made huge efforts before falling asphyxiated.

On the short wall to the left, which responded to the façade of the building, was a large window which opened at 1.40m from the ground. It was 0.92m wide and 0.80m high, plastered and with outline and nails of the wooden frame, which provided the imprint, and with grating of sturdy bars, walled up in the middle of the thickness of the wall.

 

The walls were painted, with a high red zoccolo and for all the rest coloured white with wide green bands at the corners, which recurred around to the doorway, around the ceiling, and served as a separation to the red zoccolo.  These bands had white borders where they were in contact with the red colour, and black borders where they met with white.

 

The cubiculum was covered by a plain vault, without cornice and without other lines of shutter. The simple floor was of opus signinum.

In a corner of the same room, the remains of a bed with wooden feet and traces of blanket and other tissues, which belonged to a cushion or sheet, seemed to have been recognized.

 

 

Room C, Room to the left of the entrance, which was interrupted by the road, but which went beyond room B, into a well-preserved corner room with at least two windows.  (see Pasqui, p.401).

 

I do not know if an agreement can be reached how to describe a room that was closed, and had no other doorway than that which led into the porter’s room: and this was the room that formed the north-west corner of the building, which is now entirely buried beneath the public road of Settetermini.

It was an empty square room, and approximately 6 m from the side. Its walls on the front of the building were open with two large windows, defended by strong grating, and in the side with a third window, which responded at a little over half of the room, and was well equipped with grating. This room was covered with yellow plaster with red-dark bands, as you could see from the fallen pieces from the side of the windows; other than this nothing else can be said about the contents of it.

 

 

Room D, Cubiculum (see Pasqui, p.428)

 

Rectangular room with large doorway with tufa parapets, alternating with rows of bricks, and with window above the doorway, which was built in the same materials. Externally, at corners, appeared the signs of robust iron staples, that held the frame fixed.

 

Internally the walls were white, separated as mirrors, by bands of different colours. In the short side we could see in the middle a type of door architrave, painted in yellow , with cornice, triglyphs and discs in small metopes. This doorway was halved for all its entire height, and also together with a candelabra surrounded with green leaves, supporting a basket (calathus) full of turquoise-coloured ampules, which perhaps was to indicate glass.

 

In the wall opposite to the entrance doorway, the panel was larger, and also represented also a door-architrave, with above a sort of terrace closed with red and dark cornice, by triglyphs and medallions within metopes of yellow, of doorpost with red and green bands, accompanied with red columns, banded with yellow-gold spiral ribbons, and completed above with yellow medallions.  In the middle of the panel was a Peacock flowing to the left and painted in various colours. On the opposite wall, i.e. the one in which the doorway opened, the same decoration was repeated, except that in the panel was a flying Cupid.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Cubiculum D, south wall, fresco of flying cupid with glass ampoule in his hand. 
Dateable to the Augustan era. Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Cubiculum D, south wall, fresco of flying cupid with glass ampoule in his hand.

Dateable to the Augustan era. Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

In the wall opposite the entrance was a painted coloured comic mask. At the base of the walls was a large red zoccolo, divided vertically by white ribbons and yellow flowers on the same line of the panels, and decorated with groups of aquatic plants painted in green, just like the plinths (zoccoli) of the gardens of the atriums in Pompeii.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. The cornice of the small vestibule consisted of a large cove between which were strips and egg shapes.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig. 21).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. The cornice of the small vestibule consisted of a large cove between which were strips and egg shapes.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig. 21).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. The other cornice, which ran around the cubiculum, had its curve upside down with small palms and fleur-de-lis and painted in yellow on a red background (fig. 22)
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig. 21).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. The other cornice, which ran around the cubiculum, had its curve upside down with small palms and fleur-de-lis and painted in yellow on a red background (fig. 22)

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig. 21).

 

The two different locations of the cornices showed that the vaults of this room were in two very distinct parts. In fact above a band of stucco, and which was painted red, the small vestibule was closed by an almost flat elliptical vault; the remainder then had the vault, which was called “la volta a cielo di carrozza”.

 

It does not appear that above this room stood a useful floor. There were, however, just above the vaults the holes for supports, which would sustain a pavement; but all the remains of the wall was devoid of wall plaster; then it can be assumed that over the cubiculum there was an attic, which was entered by a doorway, that one found wide open on the right wall in contact with the fauces.

 

Worthy of consideration is a fact that could be seen in the excavation of this cubiculum, and which reconstructs a sad episode of the catastrophe. At one corner of the left side wall, which responded to the porter’s room, one sees at the height of a man a wide rent in the wall which ended in a small circular hole, which only just broke through the wall. The removed materials had fallen at the foot of this, and among them were two long iron wedges. It was therefore evident that the breaking was practiced at the time of the disaster. Indeed a servant, frightened by the storm of lapilli which was falling in the atrium and which threatened to crush the roof, a good part of which had already fallen, had tried to open the door towards the caretaker's room using the two wedges, one used as a hammer, the other as a chisel.

 

But the path to salvation that he undertook was not certain, because too much ground would have had to be crossed to reach the open-air or a place more defendable. Leaving the makeshift tools, he tried to exit the atrium to get together with the other unfortunate comrades who were crying out in anguish in the torcularium. But the way also on this side was obstructed, and then he entered, just out of the cubiculum, into the fauces that in most part was already filled with lapilli; climbing on this using his hands and feet he tried to rise; but all of his efforts came to nothing, because the bad air (l’aria mefitica) combined with the fallen down roof gave him burial here.

 

Besides iron wedges (no. 310), which were found at the foot of the wall, in this cubiculum were gathered different objects, some of which, the most rustic, had to come from the attic, if account is taken of the diversity of the strata in which they were discovered. In the corner to the left of the entrance a bronze lantern adorned with a wolf's head was found. This lantern adapted with the statuette of Eros found in a cupboard in the atrium (p. 418), as is seen in figure 28.

 

In the middle of the wall opposite the entrance lay a large vase (no.150) with sturdy loop attached to the brim by means of two welded branches. Not far from the right corner of the doorway, vases of bronze lay gathered on the floor.  On the threshold of the doorway was a zoccolo (abacus) of a bronze table in the usual form, i.e. with three leonine paws (no.106).

 

Almost in the middle of the room, above the large layer of lapilli, lay a large marble mortar (no. 136) and a marble basin with two sockets and a spout (no. 135). Also gathered here were two grinders of marble and another of alabaster in the form of a bent finger (no. 137, 138). They evidently had fallen from the upper floor , (p.433-434).

 

 

Room E,  Corridor or fauces (see Pasqui, p.434)

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Room at the end of corridor E shown with bread oven and grain mill. Model in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Room at the end of corridor E shown with bread oven and grain mill.

Model in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

A narrow corridor was found in contact with the chamber described, and at its rear it widened on the left to show that there would have been a room, which remains now buried beneath the street. This fauces had nothing special; It seems even that it wasn't plastered; it would have been used as a passageway for the servants to the room now buried. This was very likely to have been destined for the grain mill (pistrinum) and for the manipulation of the bread. This hypothesis is backed up by the fact that the grain mill and the bread oven would not have been lacking in a villa of this importance; and nowhere else in the building have we found a clue; While a major confirmation of this theory, was the fact that at the point where the room begins to widen was found a fragment of the edge of the top of a millstone (catillus).

 

The fauces was 1.00 m wide, covered to the height of 2.30 m with roof which formed the floor of an upper room, the same width as the fauces below, but it was also closed with a roof, it was only 1.45 m high so that you could barely use it. There are no visible signs of access to this area, and maybe you passed from the roof above the cubiculum. It took light from a window as wide as the corresponding fauces, and under cover of the portico. This window was found closed by a sturdy grating, leading to the assumption that this area had been a repository or even a prison.

 

We have said that in the middle of this corridor, at the height of about 1.50 metres, was found the skeleton of the servant who had tried to get out through part of the porter’s room. He had on his left hand an iron ring containing an engraved stone; and nearby lay his small hoard, which consisted of five Republican denarii and three oxidised Imperial coins (see NdS, 1895, p. 211).  Nothing else was found.

 

 

Room F, Triclinium (see Pasqui, p.434-436)

 

A rectangular room, adjacent to the fauces, with entrance onto the peristyle constructed with brick parapets, that enclosed some piece of reticolato that belonged to an older building. Above this entry, as in that of the fauces, and equally under cover of the atrium, a small window opened. There did not appear any indication of a wooden door; perhaps this was embedded, because in the floor, in the limit between the jambs, a door-leaf-shutter was noticed.

 

The walls were covered with red plaster with panels, and portals of yellow and green bands, with mirrors and frames painted yellow and with frieze with festoons, between them, in the middle of each wall was a vase, painted in colour of glass, and on either side a swan, painted white.

 

In the middle of the right wall a picture which represented a horseman who injured a deer; and in the side of the same wall mirrors two paintings, one with remains of a pistris or a winged sea griffin, the other to the left, with group of fantastic animals, painted in various colours.

 

In the wall opposite the entrance, a central panel with group of grey partridges; and to the left, another painting with a partridge above a table. The remainder of the walls had lost their plaster. Around ran a simple dark ledge, bordered with white, and at the top a stucco cornice, which repeated the ornamental motifs of the cornice of the cubiculum, but inversely placed (fig. 26).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Triclinium cornice which repeated the ornamental motifs of the cornice of the cubiculum, but inversely placed.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig. 26).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Triclinium cornice which repeated the ornamental motifs of the cornice of the cubiculum, but inversely placed.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig. 26).

 

Above the cornice ran a wide red band, which determined the separation of the vaulted ceiling. The floor was of simple glaze and broken bricks. Above the vault, of which were preserved all the remains towards the corners, were the holes of the beams that supported a workable attic, and that was 3.10m high from the floor of the triclinium.

 

It should be noted that on the wall opposite to the entrance, below the plaster which was removed to cut the pictures, was a well-plastered arched niche, and with remains of yellow banded decoration. Also under the plaster of the entire room appeared another smooth wall, which belonged to an older building. In this room were gathered only various pieces of ivory, which constituted the feet and the ornaments of a couch; one of them, the most preserved, had the top attached in the form of wide bell, decorated below by ivory turned nodes.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Triclinium Pasqui F/Mau N? Fresco fragment. 
According to Cou, from the official report of the excavation of 1899 it is possible that some of the architectural pieces (No. 24657 or 24651, 24656, 24659) are from the triclinium or dining-room (N).
See Cou F. Antiquities from Boscoreale in Field Museum Of Natural History (January 1, 1912), p. 155.
Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.
Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24651. See in Field Museum

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Triclinium Pasqui F/Mau N? Fresco fragment.

According to Cou, from the official report of the excavation of 1899 it is possible that some of the architectural pieces (No. 24657 or 24651, 24656, 24659) are from the triclinium or dining-room (N).

See Cou F. Antiquities from Boscoreale in Field Museum Of Natural History (January 1, 1912), p. 155.

Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.

Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24651. See in Field Museum

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Triclinium Pasqui F/Mau N?  Fresco fragment. 
Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.
Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24656. See in Field Museum

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Triclinium Pasqui F/Mau N? Fresco fragment.

Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.

Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24656. See in Field Museum

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Triclinium Pasqui F/Mau N?  Fresco fragment. 
Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.
Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24657. See in Field Museum

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Triclinium Pasqui F/Mau N? Fresco fragment.

Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.

Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24657. See in Field Museum

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Triclinium Pasqui F/Mau N?  Fresco fragment. 
Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.
Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24659. See in Field Museum

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Triclinium Pasqui F/Mau N? Fresco fragment.

Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.

Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24659. See in Field Museum

 

Room G,  Cubiculum (see Pasqui, p.435)

 

This cubiculum, which was the last room for the owner’s use on the long side of the atrium, did not have any sign of a door, nor threshold; it was lacking the paving, but the floor was streaked by two deep irregular and very wide grooves, of which it was not possible to give a reason for.

 

In addition, the walls of this room were rough, i.e. without plaster, but simply covered with lime, as if they had been prepared  to receive the stucco cleaning. That this room was found under construction or repair,  was proved by the lack of the vaulted ceiling. The roof-timbers/girders were however in place, that supported the roof. It is therefore probable that here was a more elevated upper rustic level, therefore not easily used, as those of the rooms described

 

Around the walls were fixed many nails, to which most of the instruments, which were provisionally placed in this room, originally were attached. . A large amount of rustic tools were massed in the corner to the right of the doorway. The oxide had coated and deformed them so that very few were recognisable, i.e. preserved their original form. The finest specimens collected were listed on pages 436 to 440 of Pasqui.

 

Not far from the threshold of this cubiculum, the name seal bearing the reversed name of L. Britti(us) Eros, was found.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Drawing of seal of L BRITTI EROS.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1895, p.210
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (p. 440).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Drawing of seal of L BRITTI EROS.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1895, p.210

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (p. 440).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Room G. Seal of L Brittius Eros.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Room G. Seal of L Brittius Eros.

 

In the corner to the left of the doorway had been laid two trowels for bricklayers (trulla).

Along the left wall, nearly in the middle, three copper bowls in the form of small boats had been placed, one full of cinnabar/vermilion, another of a dark colour and the third of green earth (no.338-340) They were the bowls for the various colours, that the painters needed.

 

Near the corner of the doorway were piled several clay coarse pots, devoid of decoration and paints, and some glass bottles of a common form, which had been broken by the fall of the roof. Nearly at the middle of the back wall a small copper boiler (no.145) lay on the ground. Finally at the right corner of the back wall, a bronze casserole (no.169) was found. 

 

 

Room H,   Kitchen (see Pasqui, p.441)

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Kitchen “I” the two rooms on left (Mau shows it as one room - a stable) and kitchen annex “H” to its right with large door (Mau says the kitchen) at rear of baths.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Kitchen “I” the two rooms on left (Mau shows it as one room - a stable) and kitchen annex “H” to its right with large door (Mau says the kitchen) at rear of baths.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Looking west along the north side of the peristyle/courtyard, towards the large kitchen door and the kitchen interior.
The arrangement of the two water tanks, compared to the different places where they were placed, is shown in this photograph.
The tank on the pillar in the peristyle is higher than the larger tank in the kitchen and was connected to it by pipes feeding down the column and underground to the top of the kitchen tank.
Water drawn from the impluvium cistern was poured into the smaller tank which then fed through to the larger tank.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, Fig.45.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Looking west along the north side of the peristyle/courtyard, towards the large kitchen door and the kitchen interior.

The arrangement of the two water tanks, compared to the different places where they were placed, is shown in this photograph.

The tank on the pillar in the peristyle is higher than the larger tank in the kitchen and was connected to it by pipes feeding down the column and underground to the top of the kitchen tank.

Water drawn from the impluvium cistern was poured into the smaller tank which then fed through to the larger tank.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, Fig.45.

 

The last room that opened on the long side of the portico was used as the kitchen. It was between the rooms already described and that of the baths, in a sheltered and warm place. It was entered by a large doorway which opened facing onto the short side of the portico, and took its light from a large window which remained above that doorway. Neither on the doorway, nor on the window were recognisable signs of closure.

 

The kitchen consisted of two large rooms, divided between them with a low wall and with wooden partition. The first, almost square, had rough walls and was the real kitchen because of the hearth which was found, nearly in the middle on the earth, enclosed by large basalt thresholds. The wall that presented its face had in the centre a lararium , built of bricks with a protruding small shelf, with pillars and arch, all covered with white stucco without visible sign of decoration. In the floor of this lararium, the holes in which were attached the pins of the statuettes, could be seen.

 

Also in the same wall, which appeared to be a very old structure, were two semi-circular arched doorways . That on the right was used as a passage to the baths, the other on the left was blocked up, and in the internal part was behind the lining of the tepidarium.

 

At the corner to the right of the entrance were built three masonry steps, which served as a base for the wooden staircase for access to upper floors. At the bottom of this stairs, a wooden hatch would have closed a quadrangular shaft, that was used for descending to the part below the nearby torcularium.

 

Opposite to the entrance, supported on masonry pilasters made of large broad tufa bricks, a great lead quadrilateral container (no.70) was found, constructed of strong plates joined with hammered sutures.

It measured 0.66m in height, 0.70m wide and 0.88m in length.  It was used to contain the water necessary for the kitchen and baths’ use; and from which the lead pipe left that carried the water into the boiler (miliarium) and into the tank/vat, and another pipe which by means of keys distributed the water in the kitchen, where it carried it into the troughs of the stable.

 

Indicating that this indeed was the kitchen would have been the amount of kitchen utensils found here, copper boiler (no.144), knives (no.125,126,127,128 etc),

 

In the middle of the hearth, which was still filled with coal and ash, a large iron leaf grate in rectangular shape was found (no.121 and 122, 128, 124).

 

On the left side of the kitchen near to the doorway of the praefurnium (boiler room), a large bronze basin was thrown to the ground, and towards the semi-circular arched doorway which as we have said would have led from the kitchen into the baths area, a type of basalt drinking trough was embedded into the soil, externally crude and of cylindrical form, internally of conical form.  It was 0.60m deep and 0.75m wide.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Cross section of kitchen area showing imprints of wooden construction in the ash.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, Fig.42.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Cross section of kitchen area showing imprints of wooden construction in the ash.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, Fig.42.

 

Room I ,   Kitchen annexe (see Pasqui, p.444)

 

We have said that the kitchen was divided from the other room by a half-wall, around 0.60m high, interrupted by an opening a metre wide. To make the kitchen more isolated from this environment, they had hoisted a wooden partition wall made of floor beams in contact with the external door of the wall.

Of this construction the imprints remained visible in the ash layer, so that it can be seen in fig.42 (see above). In the opening of the wall other imprints explained to us how the wooden partition had a double pivot door, which opened to the room adjacent to the kitchen, and was hinged in the wooden uprights that formed the jambs. It was clearly visible that a shutter, that on the left was closed, and the other was left wide open at the time of the disaster.

 

The walls of this room, as that of the kitchen, were simply grouted with lime, without indication of any real plaster, showing even more that this was part of the rustic building, where even the floor was formed only of beaten earth.  Now of this part of the building remaining uncovered only the corner to the right, since everything else was buried under the boundary of the adjacent owner Sig. Pulzella.  Nevertheless, other points of the same continuation of the rustic building are uncovered, i.e. all the wall that divided the kitchen and part of the wall that formed the limit to the left, and that was a continuation of where there was a doorway leading into the baths area.  In that wall was visible the side of the entrance to the only room that occupied the north corner of the building, and which was discovered in 1876 by Sig. Pulzella, and designated as a stable because of the horse and pig skeletons’ found there.

 

In the clearing of this earth from the annexe of the kitchen, one met the tunnel used by Sig, Pulzella at a height of about one metre from the floor, i.e. above the layer of ash, as was mentioned from the beginning. With that dangerous work, was reached only the wall to the right of the recorded small portico.

 

In front of the small portico was found the skeleton of a horse, placed at the doorway, and with its head almost outside the same, as if the animal had tried to get out. Certainly it had fled from the stable, where Sig. Pulzella in 1876 found another two skeletons of horses together with skeletons of two dogs, a pig and a chicken (NdS, 1877, p.17, 18, 96). Other animals had fled from the same stable, where they had sought refuge in this place that by its nearness to the kitchen would have been used as a woodshed.

 

There were in fact many bones of chickens grouped towards the corner pilaster, other bones of pigs were scattered for a small stretch in the corner formed by the small wall with the wall of the torcularium, where there was a terracotta trough. Finally the skeleton of the dog lay alongside of the horse.

 

The floor was covered for a considerable height by a layer of loam, that still preserved traces of wood, which could not have been made from roof-beams, because this, as we have said, remained almost intact and supported at the stairs and at the partition; but rather were imprints of faggots or of other small wood.

 

It was also found that the lead pipe, provenanced from the large tank of the kitchen, passed beneath the dividing wall and bent towards the stable threshold; bringing the water to a drinking trough.

 

 

Room L,  Praefurnium or Boiler room (see Pasqui, p.446-456, for a complete description (in italian) of the workings of the boiler, pipes etc.)

 

Another door led from the kitchen to the praefurnium. It opened in the left wall near to the lead vessel for water distribution. The boiler room was very small and of a much lower level than kitchen and bathroom; and this precisely was to give place to the hypocaust, which spread and circulated the heat produced by the same stove used for heating of water. The floor of the room was reached via three steps, comprising of the first which was the width of the dividing wall of the kitchen, and then by another two larger, occupying part of the floor until contact with the mouth of stove. This opened on half of the long wall, to the right of those who were going down, and consisted of a quadrilateral enclosure of rough masonry, opened on the front with square mouth, which was closed by the architrave of basalt and two brick pillars, of which the one on the right was reinforced with one jamb of lava. Above this was set the cylindrical masonry, that was around the lower part of the large lead boiler (miliarium), as seen in fig.43, that represented in section the kitchen and praefurnium.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1931? Room L,  Praefurnium  or Boiler room showing water tanks and pipes.
Lettering on photo - Pompei - Museo Prisco. "Il Calidarium" della villa.” 
Typewritten lettering on piece of paper pasted onto rear reads: Pompeii. Capt. Saint, May 1931.
Photo courtesy of Wellcome Collection. CC BY 4.0

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Cross section of kitchen and praefurnium area showing positions of large tank and boiler.

The praefurnium is much smaller and the floor is much lower than the kitchen floor, from which three steps lead down.

On the kitchen wall is the lararium and there is an arched doorway leading in to the baths rooms.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, Fig.43.

 

The owner, Sig. Vincenzo De Prisco donated this to the Pompeii museum, along with the water distribution apparatus, and the heating appliance that was found at the stove.

By the removal of this, the entire structure could be studied.   

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Cross section of the praefurnium.
This represents a complete section of the appliance, i.e. the boiler itself, the low room (il speco) and of the channel which was connected with the furnace to keep the water of the labrum at a constant temperature.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, Fig.44.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Cross section of the praefurnium.

This represents a complete section of the appliance, i.e. the boiler itself, the low room (il speco) and of the channel which was connected with the furnace to keep the water of the labrum at a constant temperature.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, Fig.44.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1931? Room L,  Praefurnium  or Boiler room showing water tanks and pipes.
Lettering on photo - Pompei - Museo Prisco. "Il Calidarium" della villa.” 
Typewritten lettering on piece of paper pasted onto rear reads: Pompeii. Capt. Saint, May 1931.
Photo courtesy of Wellcome Collection. CC BY 4.0

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1931? Room L,  Praefurnium  or Boiler room showing water tanks and pipes.

Lettering on photo - Pompei - Museo Prisco. "Il Calidarium" della villa.”

Typewritten lettering on piece of paper pasted onto rear reads: Pompeii. Capt. Saint, May 1931.

Photo courtesy of Wellcome Collection. CC BY 4.0

 

Caldaia found in the Villa Pisanella. Photo © Orion Sirio.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/orionsirio/3439872572/sizes/o/

Caldaia found in the Villa Pisanella. Photo © Orion Sirio.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/orionsirio/3439872572/sizes/o/

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Detail of the workings of the boiler pipework.
Wanting to fill the boiler with cold water, it was enough to turn the key “a” of the first tube (A).
Wanting to send cold water into the washing basin, it was enough to open the first key “b”, keeping closed the second “c” in the second tube (B).
Instead, if you wanted to have hot water in this basin, you closed the first key “b” of this second tube (B), and opened instead the second “c”.  
The same could be done for the water in the bathtub; in fact wanting cold water, one opened the first water-tap “d” in the third tube ( C), holding closed the second valve “e”. 
Conversely, you had the hot water, keeping closed the first key “d”, and turning the second “e”. 
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 45.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Detail of the workings of the boiler pipework.

Wanting to fill the boiler with cold water, it was enough to turn the key “a” of the first tube (A).

Wanting to send cold water into the washing basin, it was enough to open the first key “b”, keeping closed the second “c” in the second tube (B).

Instead, if you wanted to have hot water in this basin, you closed the first key “b” of this second tube (B), and opened instead the second “c”. 

The same could be done for the water in the bathtub; in fact wanting cold water, one opened the first water-tap “d” in the third tube (C), holding closed the second valve “e”.

Conversely, you had the hot water, keeping closed the first key “d”, and turning the second “e”.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 45.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Kitchen area with the large tank, and praefurnium with boiler and pipes etc.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 46.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Kitchen area with the large tank, and praefurnium with boiler and pipes etc.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 46.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Apodyterium M, Tepidarium N, Calidarium O with apse and bath. Model in Boscoreale Antiquarium. 
Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Apodyterium M, Tepidarium N, Calidarium O with apse and bath. Model in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Mosaic floors in Apodyterium M, Tepidarium N, Calidarium O. Model in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Mosaic floors in Apodyterium M, Tepidarium N, Calidarium O. Model in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

 

Room M,  Apodyterium (see Pasqui, p.445)

 

In describing the kitchen it was said that one entered from this to the baths by an arched doorway, which was located at the corner on the right side of the lararium (see fig. 43). The baths area was in the three rooms that were along the left side of the building and communicated between them with small arched doorways. Their disposition clearly appears in the drawing (fig. 47), and which represents a section in the entire length of the rooms.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Cross section drawing of walls of calidarium O, tepidarium N, apodyterium M.
The baths were accessed through an arched doorway in the kitchen and the rooms communicated with each other with small arched doors.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 47.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Cross section drawing of walls of calidarium O, tepidarium N, apodyterium M.

The baths were accessed through an arched doorway in the kitchen and the rooms communicated with each other with small arched doors.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 47.

 

It was natural that the entrance from the kitchen could not come from the owner’s quarters, but would have been reserved only for servants.

We would have found ourselves in the first room facing another doorway to that from the kitchen, which opened in the wall of the building onto the fields. This doorway, not very large, was cut in the corner. It was walled up, when Sig. Pulzella discovered this room (Notizie, 1876, p.196), because lapilli running underneath threatened the subsidence of the road. The doorway then that led to the kitchen was closed by wooden shutters that opened towards the kitchen; and around the doorway which gave onto the fields, traces of nails and of the plaster, which marked the limits of a sturdy frame, were seen where the wooden closures were fixed.

 

The apodyterium, consisted of a small rectangular room with a mosaic floor, on which in tessellated black a marine crab in the middle of four ducks was depicted. This ornamental was framed in a double black band, detached from the line of the walls (see room M on the plan).

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Apodyterium M. Black and white mosaic floor with four ducks and a crab.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Apodyterium M. Black and white mosaic floor with four ducks and a crab.

 

The room was covered in plaster, painted red, partitioned with black bands and likewise the zoccolo was also black. In the rear wall, a window opened high up, covered with white stucco and decorated with red bands. It was found closed by grating, and probably the glass sheet referred to in the report of the excavations Pulzella (Notizie ,1877, p. 17, see below) belonged to this window. Around the side walls, some remains of the cornice were preserved which supported the vault, but on the other short walls, in addition to pieces of cornice that followed the same level of the side ones,  arched cornices were seen, which explained how this room was covered by a barrel vault.(fig.48)

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897 drawing of cornice in apodyterium.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 48.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897 drawing of cornice in apodyterium.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 48.

 

As we have said above, this room was explored with the first excavations of Sig. Pulzella, then it remained almost empty.

Here were found many bronze items, some with fine ornamental decoration (See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1877, p.18) and over one hundred amphorae, which evidently would have been dropped from the attic room (Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1877, p.17) because they were collected in the upper part of the layers. In fact even today, the holes of the same attic floor beams appear at the top of the walls (see fig.47), which perhaps was entered by the wooden staircase that we mentioned in the kitchen.

 

Room N,  Tepidarium (see Pasqui, p.459)

 

This room was adjacent to the preceding one, to which one passed by the arched doorway that was open towards the corner in the left wall. The floor of this room was a little higher than that of the apodyterium, and this was because of the brick piers (suspensurae) that joined with the calidarium, as is shown by the section shown in fig.47. Thus the surplus level was obtained by means of the rising threshold and a little rounding. The threshold, for all its width of the jambs, was covered with mosaic figured with large lozenge of white tessellation, within a panel of black tessellation. The mosaic decoration on the floor of the room was black, around the edge was a wide black band, set from the wall, and in the middle was a large and monstrous dolphin (see room N on the plan).

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Tepidarium N. Mosaic floor with black band around the edge and “monstrous” dolphin.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Tepidarium N. Mosaic floor with black band around the edge and “monstrous” dolphin.

 

The walls of this room were covered by tegulae mammatae, held fixed by long nails, and in consequence detached so as to leave free heat circulation that emanated from the suspensura underneath. Above the tiles was a layer of plaster, that was coloured black, with red panels. The inner perimeter of the wall was raised to a great height, while the cornice on the outer panelling indicated to a separate very low vault. The purpose of the low vault was to give less air, and make it more enclosed for warmth.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Cornice in tepidarium N.
The small cornice consisted of a double oblique, on which were recorded trefoil arches and contained blossoms and small Palm trees. 
Above and below the top the outline was completed by a strip.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 49.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Cornice in tepidarium N.

The small cornice consisted of a double oblique, on which were recorded trefoil arches and contained blossoms and small Palm trees.

Above and below the top the outline was completed by a strip.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 49.

 

Also above this room, and at a level not dissimilar from that of the previous room, the holes for the beams supporting the attic were seen. It was likely that this was in continuation with the other of the apodyterium, indeed communicating with that by means of an opening, of which the remains of the parapet on the same line as the lower door was seen.  We have already noticed how the exploration undertaken by Sig. Pulzella in 1876, pushed through to this row of rooms to the niche containing the basin for ablutions in the calidarium (schola labri).

 

Therefore the last research did not offer anything new of note, except two bronze handles (No 53, 54) and three pure bronze hinges (No. 49) found near to the door of the last room.

 

 

Room O,  Calidarium (see Pasqui, p.460)

 

One entered to this room by an arched doorway, plastered and coloured white. On the exterior remained the traces of a wooden frame, on which were fixed the enclosure for the two shutters, for which one can argue because of the two handles and bronze hinges found. For the entire width of the wall, the threshold was covered with mosaic that depicted a lozenge with a white background, between which was a small rectangle of black tessellation.

 

The calidarium was rectangular, embedded in its short side to the left of the entrance, was a channel with covering and step of marble, and on the facing side opened a niche, not very high, in the middle of which was visible the sign left by the foot of the labrum. The floor of minute mosaic was surrounded by a black band, and adorned in the centre by a large stork made from black tessellation, turning to the right, towards a serpent lying at that threshold (see room O on the plan).

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. May 2018. Calidarium O. Mosaic floor with double black band round edge and stork advancing towards a serpent. 
Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. May 2018. Calidarium O. Mosaic floor with double black band round edge and stork advancing towards a serpent.

Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Calidarium O. Mosaic floor with double black band round edge and stork and serpent in centre.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Calidarium O. Mosaic floor with double black band round edge and stork and serpent in centre.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Calidarium O. Mosaic floor with stork and serpent, information card. May 2018.
Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Calidarium O. Mosaic floor with stork and serpent, information card. May 2018.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. May 2018. Calidarium O. Mosaic floor with detail of stork. 
Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. May 2018. Calidarium O. Mosaic floor with detail of stork.

Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. May 2018. Calidarium O. Mosaic floor with detail of serpent. 
Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. May 2018. Calidarium O. Mosaic floor with detail of serpent.

Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

The bath-tub communicated with the heating furnace (no.77).  It was large enough for one person, measuring 1.81m long, 0.64m in width, and 0.68m in depth. To the right, towards the external steps, the hole for draining the water was drilled.  It was notable that this hole was put at the level of the floor under the same steps; then the water derived from this channel would have flowed freely onto the floor of this room, and of necessity on that of the others, until at the kitchen or to the rear exit of the apodyterium. 

 

Over the tub was the bronze jug (no.74) which was used for pouring cold water, or hot water. It had already been mentioned that the praefurnium communicated with the suspensura of this room, as well as communicating with the bronze channel that maintained the water in the bath-tub at a constant heat.

 

Even the wall of this room were all covered with tegulae mammatae, which formed the cavity for the circulation of warmth. Above the tiles were layers of plaster (opus albarium) very fine and smooth, simply coloured white, with red ruffles, without any signs of bands of panelling.

 

The wall opposite the channel had a semi-circular niche in the middle, it was also lined with tiles and covered above by a large stucco shell (see fìg.47).  In the middle of the niche protruded the bronze tube (epistomium), which poured water into the labrum; inside the shell was a circular opening, placed obliquely, i.e. in order to reach the exterior of the building; and above the niche was open a little window with grating and with remains of the glass plate.  This room was covered by a barrel vault that laid over a cornice not dissimilar from that of the apodyterium and tepidarium. Today the vault had fallen, but in the actual wall no attachments of the same were seen, so it's likely that it would back only onto the lining of the tegulae mammatae, the same as that of the tepidarium, forming thus a gap between the vault and the attic, of which appeared the holes for the wooden beams at the height of 3.60 m from the floor.

 

To the right of the niche, the wall was drilled obliquely; and in that place was an earthenware pipe, which for ease of keeping it open or closed, would have been used to moderate the heat of the room.  Another hole was found above the bath-tub and at a height corresponding to the floor of the attic above the praefurnium, indeed in communication with that.  Now the said attic was filled nearly by half with sand, on which were put the amphorae.  It was therefore presumable that the bather requesting it, could by that hole pour into the bath a given amount of sand to have a salty bath.

 

This room was also explored as the previous two had been. The traces of the labrum marble were highly visible which were embedded in the middle of the niche, by the bronze tube that poured water from the praefurnium, as we mentioned in describing the distribution of water in this part of the building.

 

 

Room P,  Torcularium (press) for the grapes (see Pasqui, p.463)

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Torcularium P looking south with west area “a” with wine press on the right and east area “b” on the left.
Model of villa in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Torcularium P looking south with west area “a” with wine press on the right and east area “b” on the left.

Model of villa in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

 

We have said in principle that the villa of Pisanella was so divided, that the owner’s quarters occupied all the part to the left of the portico; and all the rest, facing this and to the right, was the rustic part, with the exception of a small area on the upper floor occupying the east corner of the building. We have also said that the wall facing the entrance doorway had an opening to allow free transit for the carts and wagons carrying the harvest (see room A). Facing and opposite this opening in the middle of the wall of the short ala was a large architraved doorway, which led into a large rectangular room, 15.80m wide and 6.10m across.  Its disposition in respect to the peristyle and its external appearance can be seen on the villa plan, and even more clearly in fig.51.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Cross section of Cubiculum/Ala D, Peristyle A, and Cella Vinaria Q.
Above the door of peristyle A can be seen a lararium.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 49.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Cross section of Cubiculum/Ala D, Peristyle A, and Cella Vinaria Q.

Above the door of peristyle A can be seen a lararium.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 49.

 

Above the large doorway, a lararium with shelf, tufa jambs and small pediment of bricks can be seen. Some traces of a stucco cornice were preserved, made in a very rough manner. On the left of the doorway, a small amount of plaster remained and noticed here were the remains of an inscription in large letters coloured red.  Some letters are copied below, but according to prof. A. Sogliano, at the time of discovery it was more readable.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Graffiti in large red letters found in torcularium P.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, p. 464.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Graffiti in large red letters found in torcularium P.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, p. 464.

 

On this same wall, at equal distance from the door, were two large windows which must have been closed with wooden leaves (valvae), as could be seen by the impressions left in the plaster and by the nails fixed into the wall. Other signs of iron brackets were around the door-jambs, and fixed inside in a solid manner. In fact towards the threshold was found a doorlatch made with a square iron bar, 1.75m tall with wide end link.  There also appeared the remains of a robust bronze lock and of an iron handle.

 

The floor of the room was divided into three parts (room P, a and b).  The middle area (P), which was the largest, was at the same level as the courtyard and simply covered with beaten earth. The other two sides (a and b) were smaller, and were at a higher level supported by masonry. In each of these last we must recognise a forum or calcatorium for a wine-press; and therefore the large area in its three sections should be defined as the wine-press (torcularium vinarium) of the rustic villa. Both of these fora were supported and limited by long thresholds of bricked basalt, and held firm with iron bars. The floor was tilted slightly in the front, well built with substructure, then paved with lime and beaten sand and finally covered with a layer of sifted lime, over which was laid a last layer of cocciopesto.  To clarify the section along the long side of this part of the building (fig.52) where in the large room recognised as the torcularium (press) (room P), you can see the difference in level between the central part and the two (fora) sections (a and b).

 

In front of the left forum (a) were two pierced stones (c, c’), which were above a deep hole (fig, 52 c); and towards the rear wall of the same forum was another stone (d), also pierced, that communicated with an underground compartment (d). This last behind and between the other two. The same could be seen in the right forum (b). Towards the threshold of basalt opened two stones (e, e’) which also communicated with an underground compartment, and equally towards the rear wall stood another stone (f) communicating with a void (see fig.52 f)

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Cross section of rooms H, P, R and U.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 52.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Cross section of rooms H, P, R and U.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 52.

 

Both of these underground rooms were passable.  The one on the left, which was in communication with all three, was descended by a well (h) located at the bottom of the kitchen stairs. The right forum, which was not in communication between each other (e, e’, f) was descended by two parts; by a well with a round mouth (g) which opened in the floor of the torcularium (see fig.52 g), through which you entered into the area beneath the anterior stones (e, e’), and by a small well (i) opened purposely into a rear-room (see fig. 52 i) by which you entered the underneath room of the rear stone (f). In these holes, reinforced by stone grilles (bocchette di pietra) (pedicini lapides) and constructed entirely of solid masonry, the mechanism/apparatus which constituted the press were fixed.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Torcularium. Press.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 53.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Torcularium. Press.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 53.

 

The collection of apparatus, as applied in the press of our building was seen in a drawing, see fig 53. But great effort was necessary to compress the grapes with such a simple machine that could have compromised the stability of the arbor and stipites (the posts). Therefore under the stones were embedded deep puticoli, made possible as we have said, so that the beams fixed into the holes could be assured by means of beams under the floor.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Torcularium. Fresco showing Cupids working a press from VI.15.1 House of the Vettii.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 53a.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Torcularium. Fresco showing Cupids working a press from VI.15.1 House of the Vettii.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 53a.

 

This system of press, as one described by Cato (XVIII) for the manipulation of wine and oil, is also shown in a frieze in the room of the Vettii house in Pompeii, as shown here taken from a photograph (fig.53a).

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1899. Fresco showing Cupids working a press from VI.15.1 House of the Vettii.
See Mau, A., 1899, translated by Kelsey F. W. Pompeii: Its Life and Art. New York: Macmillan, p. 330, fig. 161.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1899. Fresco showing Cupids working a press from VI.15.1 House of the Vettii.

See Mau, A., 1899, translated by Kelsey F. W. Pompeii: Its Life and Art. New York: Macmillan, p. 330, fig. 161.

 

The same system would have been in use in the Stabian villas, illustrated by Francesco La Vega, by the Herculaneum academics, and by Fiorelli, in plans in which appeared the same arrangement of holes and of stones towards or above the “fora”.

 

The large room that formed this torcularium was entirely plastered; in the wall facing the entrance doorway ran a raised ledge that indicated a separation of foundation, and in fact at the same level continued for all that side of the building (see fig.52), and marked precisely the floor of the countryside, that, as we have said, ran for about a metre from the front of the building to the rear part (p.400).

 

Around the presses, the walls were coated with a cuff of smoothed opus signinum, for the purpose of cleaning that it required, in order that the walls and presses could be washed. The two windows that we have seen on the front (see fig. 51), corresponded to another two large windows on the rear wall, that not only would have been closed by shutters, but also secured with grills. On top, on the line of the large earthenware dolia, opened another two small windows. Also on the top of the rear wall remained the holes for large shelves, which were to constitute the carnarium, i.e. that place where the tools of the torcularium were kept after the work had been done.

 

The ziri (earthenware jugs, painted inside, used to store oil, etc) that were found buried at the edges of the fora, were very large and of a common form. In these, were read within rectangular name-plate, the stamp – SEXOBINISALVI

 

This place, so big and well defended by a strong cover, was believed to be a safe shelter at the moment of the catastrophe, and the last inhabitants of the villa took refuge from the lapilli, and there they met their deaths.  On the edge of the forum to the left of the entrance (a), three corpses were overturned, on top of one another. Of one, the one that lay along the bench and with head on the edge, it was possible to make an entire plaster-cast.  He was on his back with his body stretched out and his head thrown backward, with right arm raised and almost resting on his elbow on the ground, with left arm stretched out along his side and enveloped in his garment, and with legs and feet out in the cold, as seen in fig. 53b

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Torcularium. Body cast of man stretched out on bench.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 53b.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Torcularium. Body cast of man stretched out on bench.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 53b.

 

Another body lay across the sides of the first, with the head above the bench.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Torcularium. Body cast of female head.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 53c.

Only the plaster-cast of the head was taken (fig. 53c), and it was acknowledged that it was of a woman, with raised hair and drapery around her neck and mouth.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Torcularium. Body cast of female head.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 53c.

 

Only the plaster-cast of the head was taken (fig. 53c), and it was acknowledged that it was of a woman, with raised hair and drapery around her neck and mouth.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Torcularium P. Plaster-cast of the head of a woman, with raised hair and drapery around her neck and mouth. Next to it were found two gold earings with topaz.
Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium, inventory number 25898. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Torcularium P. Plaster-cast of the head of a woman, with raised hair and drapery around her neck and mouth.

Next to it were found two gold earrings with topaz.

Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium, inventory number 25898. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold earrings with green (glass according to Louvre) inserts. 
Now in the Louvre. Inventory numbers BJ408 and BJ409. Photo (C) RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre)/Tony Querrec.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold earrings with green (glass according to Louvre) inserts.

Now in the Louvre. Inventory numbers BJ408 and BJ409. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre)/Tony Querrec.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Torcularium. Body cast of head and abdomen.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 53d.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Torcularium. Body cast of head and abdomen.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 53d.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1923. Torcularium. Body cast of head and abdomen and the head of a woman in Pompeii Antiquarium. 
The torso was destroyed in the bombing of 1943 and the woman's head damaged and only partly recovered.
See Sogliano, A., 1923. Guida di Pompei: 3rd ed. Milano, p. 5.
See Garcia y Garcia, L., 2006. Danni di guerra a Pompei. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, p. 198, fig. 463.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1923. Torcularium. Body cast of head and abdomen and the head of a woman in Pompeii Antiquarium.

The torso was destroyed in the bombing of 1943 and the woman's head damaged and only partly recovered.

See Sogliano, A., 1923. Guida di Pompei: 3rd ed. Milano, p. 5.

See Garcia y Garcia, L., 2006. Danni di guerra a Pompei. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, p. 198, fig. 463.

 

The third corpse was laid crosswise as well compared to the first, and from the hips down was under the woman's corpse. It was therefore only possible to make the cast of the head until the abdomen (fig. 53 d).  He was a man covered with a raised cloak around his mouth, with body stretched out on the forum, and with legs along the bench, and with his left arm along his side, and the other bent at the top and with a closed fist.

 

Around the skeletons were gathered a few oxidised copper and silver coins, and some bronze rings. On the woman’s skull were two earrings of wide hoops of gold, around which three topazes were set. There appeared also traces of silver ornaments and iron tools which were unrecognisable because of oxidisation. Towards the window, in the vicinity of these corpses, the skeleton of a dog was stretched out.

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Torcularium. Early 19th Century view of the premixing basin and the mouth of the cistern.
The treasure was hidden in the cistern intended for the collection of the must during the pressing.
See Guzzo, P. (A cura di), 2006. Argenti a Pompei. Milano, Electa, p. 183.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. Torcularium. Early 19th Century view of the premixing basin and the mouth of the cistern.

The treasure was hidden in the cistern intended for the collection of the must during the pressing.

See Guzzo, P. (A cura di), 2006. Argenti a Pompei. Milano, Electa, p. 183.

 

But the most important discovery for the richness of the objects and the peculiarity of the place happened in the last hours of the 18th April 1895, within that cistern that we have called by the lacus of the torcularium. At the bottom of this underground area, a corpse was found, fallen forward on hands and knees, and near to him was an impression of a leather sack that seemed burst at the bottom. In fact from this had fallen a thousand gold coins from Tiberius to Domitian, of which 575 were of Nero with various wording, and faces.

 

Under the breast of the skeleton were grouped, as if they had fallen from his hands, a large necklace with double chain of gold fillet, that in the part corresponding to the shoulders of those who wore it, was linked a small golden wheel, crossed by filigree spokes; two golden bracelets in the shape of a twining serpent; two other pure gold bracelets formed by a double row chained together and with clasps at the end.

 

In front of the corpse, at the point where the bottom of the cistern widened towards the forum, were placed forty silver vessels, some of which were smooth, others crafted with figures of men, of animals and with intertwining foliage.  These vessels, acquired by Edmund Rothschild and donated to the French government, are in the Louvre Museum and have already been given the name of the “Boscoreale treasure” (Note: mere mention was made of the discovery in Notizie degli Scavi, 1895, p.212-3). “In the continuation of the earthworks several objects of uncommon importance were recovered, above all by precious material, gold or silver, of which they were composed, and some of no small archaeological and artistic merit. Memorable amongst these are twenty-one golden aurei that are divided as follows”: four aureus of Tiberius…., two of Claudius…., one of Nero…., one of Vitellius…., five of Vespasian…., six of Titus…. and two of Domitian…..

 

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Nero. On one side is a portrait wearing a laureate crown and the wording Nero Caesar Augustus.

On the other is Salus seated left on ornate throne, holding patera in extended right hand; left hand at side.

Photo Wikimedia Commons Gold Aureus of Nero, courtesy Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. http://www.cngcoins.com

Use subject to CC BY-SA 2.5

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Nero from AD 64-65. On the front is the laureate head facing right and the inscription NERO CAESAR – AVGVSTVS.
On the reverse is the inscription IVPPITER – CVSTOS and Jupiter seated facing left on throne, holding thunderbolt and long sceptre.
Nero believed that because so many people who were so close to him were involved in the conspiracy to overthrow him as emperor and replace him with Gaius Calpurnius Piso he must have only been spared because the gods intervened. Jupiter the Guardian (represented by the inscription Custos - one who preserves and saves) was attributed with this intervention.
Photo © Colosseo Collection. See A Conspiracy to Assassinate the Emperor

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Nero from AD 64-65. On the front is the laureate head facing right and the inscription NERO CAESAR – AVGVSTVS.

On the reverse is the inscription IVPPITER – CVSTOS and Jupiter seated facing left on throne, holding thunderbolt and long sceptre.

Nero believed that because so many people who were so close to him were involved in the conspiracy to overthrow him as emperor and replace him with Gaius Calpurnius Piso he must have only been spared because the gods intervened. Jupiter the Guardian (represented by the inscription Custos - one who preserves and saves) was attributed with this intervention.

Photo © Colosseo Collection. See A Conspiracy to Assassinate the Emperor

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Vitellius from AD 69. On the front is the laureate head of Vespasian facing right and the inscription AVITELLIVS GERM IMP AVGV TRP. On the reverse is the inscription PONT MAXIM with a seated Vesta facing right, holding patera and sceptre.
See https://www.flickr.com/photos/antiquitiesproject/4794045405/

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Vitellius from AD 69. On the front is the laureate head of Vespasian facing right and the inscription AVITELLIVS GERM IMP AVGV TRP. On the reverse is the inscription PONT MAXIM with a seated Vesta facing right, holding patera and sceptre.

See https://www.flickr.com/photos/antiquitiesproject/4794045405/

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Vespasian from AD 70. On the front is the laureate head of Vespasian facing right and the inscription IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG.
On the reverse is the inscription CO SITER TR POT and Aequitas the Roman goddess of justice standing left, holding scales and sceptre.
Photo © Colosseo Collection. See Vespasian Aureus

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Vespasian from AD 70. On the front is the laureate head of Vespasian facing right and the inscription IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG.

On the reverse is the inscription CO SITER TR POT and Aequitas the Roman goddess of justice standing left, holding scales and sceptre.

Photo © Colosseo Collection. See Vespasian Aureus

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Vespasian from AD 76. On the front is the laureate head of Vespasian facing right and the inscription IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG.
On the reverse is the inscription COS VII with a heifer standing to right.
See https://www.flickr.com/photos/antiquitiesproject/6710559135

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Vespasian from AD 76. On the front is the laureate head of Vespasian facing right and the inscription IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG.

On the reverse is the inscription COS VII with a heifer standing to right.

See https://www.flickr.com/photos/antiquitiesproject/6710559135

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Domitian from AD 77-8. On the front is the laureate head of Domitian facing right and the inscription IMP CAESAR AVG F DOMINIANVS.
On the reverse is the inscription COS V with the iconic she-wolf and Romulus and Remus to right.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Domitian from AD 77-8. On the front is the laureate head of Domitian facing right and the inscription CAESAR AVG F DOMINIANVS.

On the reverse is the inscription COS V with the iconic she-wolf and Romulus and Remus to right.

See https://www.cointalk.com/attachments/romrem-jpg.790157/

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Tiberius.
On the front is the inscription TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS with the laureate head of Tiberius facing right.
On the reverse is the inscription PONTIF MAXIM, with Livia, as Pax, seated facing right, holding sceptre and olive branch on a chair with ornate legs, feet on footstool.
Most emperors cared deeply about their coinage and would issue a vast range of designs, reflecting current events and progress made within the Empire. Tiberius took the opposite approach, leaving a single precious metal type in place for nearly the entirety of his twenty-three year reign. Furthermore, the type itself was a duplicate from one of Augustus’ late emissions, indicating just how little focus Tiberius placed on his coinage.
Photo © Colosseo Collection. See Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Gold aureus of Tiberius.

On the front is the inscription TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS with the laureate head of Tiberius facing right.

On the reverse is the inscription PONTIF MAXIM, with Livia, as Pax, seated facing right, holding sceptre and olive branch on a chair with ornate legs, feet on footstool.

Most emperors cared deeply about their coinage and would issue a vast range of designs, reflecting current events and progress made within the Empire. Tiberius took the opposite approach, leaving a single precious metal type in place for nearly the entirety of his twenty-three year reign. Furthermore, the type itself was a duplicate from one of Augustus’ late emissions, indicating just how little focus Tiberius placed on his coinage.

Photo © Colosseo Collection. See Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Information card from Boscoreale Antiquarium regarding some of the ‘treasure’.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Information card from Boscoreale Antiquarium regarding some of the ‘treasure’.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1974. Part of silver treasure. Now in the Louvre. Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0825

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1974. Part of silver treasure. Now in the Louvre. Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0826

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1974. Silver cup with skeletons, part of silver treasure.

Now in the Louvre. Inventory number BJ1924. Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0827

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1974. Silver and gold plate with female figure with elephants trunk on head and holding a cornucopia.

Now in the Louvre. Inventory number BJ1969 or BJ1865. Part of silver treasure. Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0828

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1974. Silver jug, part of silver treasure. Now in the Louvre.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0829

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1974.

Silver plate with head of man prominent, part of silver treasure.. Now in the Louvre.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0830

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1974.

Silver plate with head of man prominent, part of silver treasure.. Now in the Louvre.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0832

 

Villa_013_Mithraic procession one side sacrifice other side Tiberius Louvre

Silver cup of Tiberius showing triumphal Mithraic procession with bull on one side and sacrifice of bull on other.

Now in The Louvre.

 

It seemed that these pots were covered by a blanket, that is if the fabric that was found adhering did not belong to the clothes of the corpse. Along with them were other bronze vases with fine reliefs, and a large silver plate with comical squares and with small nails, which probably formed the lining of a large tray.  All these objects, also by the order in which they were found placed, appeared as if they had been temporarily hidden during the catastrophe.  It will remain however, forever unknown, if these precious objects were the fruits of a robbery carried out at the time of the catastrophe by the people attached to the rustic business, or represented a deposit entrusted to them by the owner of the villa, who would have fled at the beginning of the disaster. 

 

But in this case, one cannot understand why the owner, fleeing, had left the bag of coins and gold ornaments which would have been easily transportable.

 

Villa Pisanella. 1900 photo titled “well in which was discovered the treasure….”. Photo published  in the Illustrated London News, 22nd December 1900.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1900 photo titled “well in which was discovered the treasure….”.

Photo published in the Illustrated London News, 22nd December 1900.

 

According to the narrative of the discoveries we will first note that facing the door of the torcularium, was placed a bed (kline) with wooden frame reinforced with bronze bands and supported on bronze feet (nos. 79, 80).  Judging by the bronze pieces, which were the reinforcement of a wooden lattice, it appeared evident that the bed, found in the middle of the torcularium, originally was to occupy a corner of the room. By the marks left on the ground by the legs of the bed you could detect the size of it.  It was 1.40m wide, 2.20m long, 0.75m high. Between the earth that surrounded these remains were recognisable signs and impressions of fabric that covered it: so we can deduce that at the time of the disaster the bed was completely made.

 

Next to the bed was a wooden chest with sturdy walls, but without signs of hinges or locks.  It contained among the remains of clothes, various square and round glass bottles (nos.201, 205). One of these last was full of white very heavy powder, perhaps a precipitate of lead (no. 196).  It also contained glass bowls, some of which were handled and elegant (nos. 181, 183, 184) and a hemispherical (no.188); some bronze toilette utensils, and in a corner was a small terracotta jug on whose belly was written in very small letters:

G· F·SCOMBR

SCAVRI

EX OFFICINA AGATHOPI

 

Standing more towards the back wall was a bronze candelabra, 1.35m tall with octagonal barrel and three leg-supports. Completing the furniture of an improvised room, in the middle of the torcularium, was a bronze circular table (fig.55), with three legs with triangular partition. It was placed behind the chest and almost on the mouth of the circular well that was used as access to the holes of stipites; but over time, the wooden lid that would have closed the well-hole had become worn out, the table had not resisted the imposed soil pressure, and had broken and bent towards the well. Nevertheless, above its shelf was placed a bronze plate with  handle place and with the ram’s head in the middle of the cavity; and a pair of bronze vessels, in the form of oinochoe, with expansive belly and soldered handles and decorated in the lower junction by a mask of a bacchante (fìg. 56).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1899. Torcularium. Bronze circular table, with three legs with triangular partition.
See De Villefosse H., 1899. L'argenterie et bijoux d'or du trésor de Boscoreale description des pièces conservées au Musée du Louvre: Monuments et Memories 5 1899 with supplement 1902, p. 25, fig. 3.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.55).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1899. Torcularium. Bronze circular table, with three legs with triangular partition.

On top of it is the oinochoe with expansive belly and soldered handles and decorated in the lower junction by a mask of a bacchante.

See De Villefosse H., 1899. L'argenterie et bijoux d'or du trésor de Boscoreale description des pièces conservées au Musée du Louvre: Monuments et Mémoires 5 1899 avec Fascicule Supplémentaire 1902, p. 25, fig. 3.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.55 and fig. 56).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Torcularium. Bronze circular table, with three legs with triangular partition and other bronze items.
Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.
Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24407. See in Field Museum

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Torcularium. Bronze circular table, with three legs with triangular partition and other bronze items.

Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.

Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24407. See in Field Museum

 

In the torcularium, many tools were found out of place; many others were nailed to the walls of the fora or placed on this in confusion. In the right forum (b), towards the mouth of the lacus were gathered a group of bronze vessels, perhaps used to pour-off the wine. Towards the group of vases were gathered many fragments of a portable hearth in the form of a bronze box, built of thin plates and supported on four corner legs, that consisted of simple bands (no.120).  It seemed it had the bottom made of grating, i.e. formed with iron rods arranged only in the width, without crossing. In its short sides two bronze handles were applied.

 

In the right-hand corner of this forum (b) many wine amphorae of many varied shapes were crowded; and with them were many vessels that were certainly used in the manufacture of wine. Among these terracotta, a large vase or bronze measure with round body, truncated cone and with handles welded to the brim and the middle of the body, was found (fig. 60).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Torcularium. Bronze vase or measure with round body, truncated cone and with handles welded to the brim and the middle of the body.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.60).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Torcularium. Bronze vase or measure with round body, truncated cone and with handles welded to the brim and the middle of the body.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.60).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 2017. Torcularium. Bronze vase or measure with round body, truncated cone and with handles welded to the brim and the middle of the body. The Boston Museum card says: An infant’s face is brought out in relief at the lower end of the handle, which is decorated with a heron and provided with a thumb rest on top.
Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.
Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24403. See in Field Museum

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 2017. Torcularium. Bronze vase or measure with round body, truncated cone and with handles welded to the brim and the middle of the body. The Boston Museum card says: An infant’s face is brought out in relief at the lower end of the handle, which is decorated with a heron and provided with a thumb rest on top.

Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.

Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24403. See in Field Museum

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Torcularium. Bronze vase with an infant’s face is brought out in relief at the lower end of the handle, which is decorated with a heron and provided with a thumb rest on top.
Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.
Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24403. See in Field Museum

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Torcularium. Bronze vase with an infant’s face is brought out in relief at the lower end of the handle, which is decorated with a heron and provided with a thumb rest on top.

Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.

Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24403. See in Field Museum

 

Other amphorae, and in a considerable quantity, were placed along the back wall and towards the left corner of the same forum. None of these carried inscriptions or marks, but they were all in good order, as if it appeared they were ready to receive wine. Other similar amphorae and equally arranged, were leaning in a solo group along the front wall in the torcularium, towards the dolia to the right of the other forum (a). On this, behind the skeletons, a huge bronze phial was leaning on the wall (no.164).

 

At the feet of the corpse lying on the bench, a large flask in fragments was found; it was made of sheets of iron and the feet were made of bronze.

 

Finally in the middle of the wall, above a stone of the arbor (beam), many small, rough, terracotta pots had accumulated as well as some copper vases, for drawing water or common use, to judge by their rough workmanship and the simple handles, nailed to the brim and belly.

 

 

Room Q,  Cella Vinaria (see Pasqui, p.483)

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Cella Vinaria Q which had 84 sunken dolia and built in vents in south wall. 
Peristyle A is to the left and nubilarium V is right. Model in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Cella Vinaria Q which had 84 sunken dolia and built in vents in south wall.

Peristyle A is to the left and nubilarium V is right. Model in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

The cella vinaria was facing the torcularium and separated from it only by means of a corridor in continuation of the short wing of the portico.  This cella vinaria consisted of an open rectangular piazza, measuring in parallel to the corridor side 12.70m wide, and on the other side, 14.90m in length. It was at a higher level than the corridor, and was entered by climbing three steps, and crossing a small vaulted corridor, to half of which was attributed the door. Alongside the second step appeared the grooves of the frame, and in correspondence with them, on high, along the side walls were the traces of nails and iron brackets which fixed the same frame. On the same wall with the door were two large windows, with low sill on the floor of the cella, and two small windows were on either side of the entrance. These were at a higher level, and both they and the larger windows showed signs of shutters. It could mean that all these openings ordinarily would have remained closed, and that the largest could have been used to facilitate the transport of the wine.

 

On the left of the cella was a simple wall dividing it from the peristyle. This wall, which even today was preserved in its entirety, was low, and ended at the top in pilasters which constituted a kind of crenellation and were separated by semi-circular grooves, all simply covered with bricks set with lime. To the right the wall was higher, because it was part of an upper floor. Almost in the middle there had been a large door, that led to a barn or nubilarium (see room V); and above this was an upper floor window.   It was opened all the way to join with a wooden balcony, which ran from there to the corner of this wall.  This balcony was supported by sturdy wooden brackets, fixed into the wall, of which the holes could be seen. (see section on “Upper floor rooms”, and fig.74).

 

The wall opposite to the entrance of the cella, and which corresponded to the exterior façade wall, was about two metres high. In the middle, facing the entrance, there was a window whose threshold remained at floor level. The rest of the wall was nearly all perforated with high narrow vents, that allowed ventilation of the cella. The cella of Boscoreale was constructed to avoid the heat, as it was open between the west and north, covered by a high building between the east and south, and between the south and west sheltered by the wall where the vents opened.  (Note: a wall of similar structure was noted by the Academics of Herculaneum (Ant. di Erc., VIII, pref. IX, X) in a room of the Stabian villas.)

 

The cella vinaria was found intact, i.e. with the distribution channels and with all the large earthenware jars (dolia) in their place. There were eighty-four large jars (dolia), but those who really were to receive the wine were just seventy-two, i.e. all those buried up to their shoulders (dolia defossa) and thus remained below the level of the channels.  The others, distributed along the right wall, were or laid above ground, or very little below ground; remaining at that height by means of channels they could not fill up. Of more by the remains found at the bottom of these last you could infer that some of them were used for oil, others for grains, One in fact, that was the last at the right corner and next to a boiler, was found full of grain.

 

The buried earthenware dolia were arranged in four rows, from one and another by a kind of avenue left to facilitate transit through from the entrance to the window at the bottom opposite. Each of these double rows was practical, in the way that was shown in the plan.  On the bottom wall, also in the same rows as the other jars, one row was placed along the wall. The last jar in the left corner was filled with millet

 

Near to the left wall between one line and another, three earthenware jugs (for storage of oil, wine, etc) with cylindrical walls were found at little depth, in which by means of the channels it would not have been possible to pass the wine. Also deserving to be noted that the first four distribution of jars to the right, and the other jars that remained leaning against the right wall showed signs of erosion and restoration with splices, and that more contained remains of tar and sediment. Instead all the other jars that formed the four distribution jars to the left, and the three leaning against the left wall, and all those in the row along the bottom wall, were new, with corners and bevel edges, as if they had been recently put in place.  Moreover nearly all the dolia of the oldest rows had the seal: N · SILLI, and rarely any graffitied numerical sign. The new dolia did not have any named seal, but some of them carried a numbered sign with roughly engraved numbers.  Here you could distinctly read the numbers:  VII, IX, XI, XIII, XIX.  However, these signs were arranged not in a progressive manner with respect to the position of the dolia, but differently; which proved that the signs were engraved before the vessels were placed into the cella.

 

However, old or new, these vessels were all of the same shape and more or less the same capacity. Some were found completely closed, or with the lid placed next to it. This lid had to defend the entire part of the earthenware vessel that remained below the earth, against the sun and water.  On average the large earthenware jars measured 0.46m in the mouth aperture, 1.86m deep, and up to 1.26m internal diameter, so that with a rough calculation one could assume that each could hold ten or eleven hectolitres of wine.  According to this, the wine that was produced in the land assigned to the administration of this villa, when the collection was good, could amount to about seven hundred and fifty hectolitres per year.

 

In the right corner, which was formed from the façade and walls of the nubilarium, the cauldron-room (cortinale); (where new wine was boiled down); (m) remained leaning; i.e. a large lead boiler walled above a circular hearth, within which the must for making the wine was boiled. The cortinale was covered, i.e. remained under a canopy leaning on the walls, and on a brick pillar; having the mouth of the furnace on the exterior of the house, at the point where it was covered by a roof and cabin.   Towards the side door, a well with cylindrical mouth and 7.50m deep was sunk, completely walled around.

 

Among the terracotta pots, many wine and oil amphorae were placed, and each were especially found grouped at the sides of the small corridor that formed the entrance, and into the corner to the left of the same entrance. Here lay a terracotta basin with oval base, 0.80m long and with vertical sides 0.40m high.  In the distribution channel were placed a large number of rough vessels of all shapes and sizes,  without order (nos. 260-287), amongst which merited special mention were the small amphorae with ovoid bodies, cylindrical neck and a wide and flat bottom (nos.257-259) and (no 262) to fill the amphorae.

 

Almost facing the entrance the impression of a wooden beam was recognised, that probably had been flung down from the upper floor. Among the few remains of wood were gathered twenty-one gold coins, already described in Notizie 1895, p.212-213, four aureus of Tiberius, two of Claudius, one of Nero, one of Vitellius, five of Vespasian, six of Titus and two of Domitian.

Area R,   Rooms of the torcularium (press) (see Pasqui, p.489)

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. The four rooms on the right are in area “R” arranged symmetrically on either side of a kind of entrance hall. 
Model of villa in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. The four rooms on the right are in area “R” arranged symmetrically on either side of a kind of entrance hall.

Model of villa in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

 

These rooms were a group of five cells which were located along the corridor near to the wine-press (torcularia da vino), and facing the entrance to the cella vinaria. They would have been used as homes for the servants involved in the handling of the wine and oil.  The rooms were arranged symmetrically on either side of a kind of entrance hall, so that the two at the front had their entrance onto the corridor, the more internal ones were linked by their own entrance corridor.

 

The first room that was met coming from the torcularium, had its entrance almost facing the doorway to the cella vinaria; indeed a vented window which was found at the side of the same entrance, had the scope to watch the door of the cell.  At the inner edges, the nails that fixed the wooden frame remained in place, also other nails remained around the inner part of the window, and they indicated a wooden enclosure. This room was perhaps occupied by a distinct servant amongst the others, as it was entirely covered by plaster in preference to the others, in addition around the inside ran a ledge of well-polished cement, 1.30m height from the ground.  Along the right wall, at the height of the ledge appeared the holes for the wooden shelves, which supported a table, and many nails fixed in the wall at varying heights could be seen. 

 

Near to the corner on the earth was a very tall iron candelabra (no.109), to which was placed the lantern made from the same metal (no.110). A couch with wooden feet and with remains of blankets (culcita) or covers as seen by the impression in the ash, was found along the back wall in order to leave a small space free towards the right corner. There, as if fallen from high, or perhaps from a wooden shelf, a type of bronze fruit-dish with braided handles which was similar to other pompeian examples (Note: Mus. Borb. V, taf. LVIII-LX).  Also found here was a large bronze basin with very strong handles.

 

Halfway along the left wall resting on wooden shelves was a long table, on which was found small household utensils, which with little variation were also found in the rooms of the other servants. Consisting of a small boiler of the most common form closed by a copper lid; a bronze casserole; in plates and bowls; in jugs and small pottery. Amongst the latter was noted a type of frying pan, closed with a conical lid, containing remains of food and smoky outside (no.288).  Also on the table, some toilet utensils and surgical instruments were placed.

 

Next to this first room, there was a kind of entrance (room R).  At the moment of its discovery it seemed that this room was closed by a partition of boards. But then it was acknowledged that there on the corner to the left of the entrance, a wooden construction, perhaps a cupboard/closet, was leaning.  Among the remains of this construction, together with several scraps of glass and terracotta, a beautiful terracotta vase in the form of a pine-cone, coated with a layer of greenish glaze was found, see fig. 64.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Torcularium room R. Green glaze terracotta vase in form of a pine cone.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.64).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Torcularium room R. Green glaze terracotta vase in form of a pine cone.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.64).

 

On a masonry podium, next to the doorway of the little room on the left, a small grinding wheel (mola trusatilis) for salt or for spelt (no.139) was found.  The podium had a round shape, and around the mola was a socket, well-polished and open on the front, which was used to collect the ground substance. The small grinding wheel consisted of a meta, made of vesuvian lava-stone, in whose top was the stem on which the catillus turned. This was also made of lava in the form of a hollow disc in two faces, so that the upper part was used as a hopper. 

 

The second room opened on the left of the entrance hallway. It was almost square, with dirt floor and bare walls, and only plaster-covered for about a square metre on the side where the door was, and where appeared many holes that had been used for nails on which to hang a lamp. Evidently each time that the nail fell, it was re-used forming a new hole. In this piece of plaster, many lines were noted, made with the tip of a knife or by a nail, which undoubtedly were to indicate an account made by a servant.   This room had light from a small slit window, fitted with grating, and placed very high up on the wall. In the wall facing the entrance, high up, two wooden shelves were placed, to support a tablet. This had fallen, but under it were found some bronze vessels, i.e. small boilers, water drawing vessels and casseroles, also many terracotta pots similar to those found in the first room, and which constituted the household goods of each servant. Along the same wall, leaning against the corner of the wall, was the bed. On the one hand this was supported by two clay pillars, equal to those used for the suspensura of the hypocaust; on the other hand it rested on a bricked-up wooden board.  At the foot of the bed and precisely above the vacuum of the well, that communicated with the torcularium (i), rested a small chest containing some glass bottles, and some residue of clothing. In the middle of the room, at a level higher than the floor, as if it had fallen from the floor above, a modius, or large bronze measure was found.

 

The room that we have called the entrance hallway (andron), was closed on the line of the doors to the side rooms, with a partition open in the middle, and in the mode to form another room. 

You can see this was not part of the original construction of the building, but had been added into that space to provide shelter for a greater number of servants.

In fact this room, with the exception of the others adjoining, had no window opening into the wall of the villa. Maybe it took light from the door, or more probably from an aperture in the wooden partition.  That it was used as a cubiculum was shown by the remains of two beds with canvas and wooden feet, one placed along the rear wall, but towards the right corner, the other in the short space of the left wall. This last, by its small size, could not have been used by a servant, but by a child.  Other than the signs of the frames of the beds, the impressions of the cloth that covered them was visible in the room. The frames of the beds and their mountings will give an idea, in fig.66, which shows a plaster-cast  removed from one corner of the largest bed (no. 83).  On the same rear wall, above the described bed, was a rectangular plastered space, in the middle of which was embedded a niche, rather large as it needed to receive a lantern. Along the right wall were the signs of shelves and wooden tablet, on which would have been placed the equipment, which had fallen on the floor along the same wall.

 

Another room was perfectly symmetrical and equal to the second. It had its entrance near the partition and on the right wall of andron. Around the door were no signs of remains of shutters; instead a small frame surrounded the single window vent, open high up in the outside wall, closed by a grill.  In the middle of the wall

 

In the middle of the short wall, to the right of the door, was a rectangular space covered with plaster and with a hole in the middle for a lantern; the rest of the walls were left blank.  We do not know at what time and for what purpose, but what is certain is that this room was visited by means of a well, then stripped totally of objects that made up the equipment of each servant.  Only along the wall that stood in front of the entrance, the signs of a bed with frame and wooden feet could be recognised.

 

The last room of the servants, also placed in symmetry with its corresponding room, which was the first described, had access from the passageway by means of a doorway, which opened towards the corner of the entrance hallway. Here we recognize the enclosure of wood fixed to half of the door-jambs. The room took its light from a small window located above the door. This room also had rough walls, in which, on both sides of the door, you saw the holes for the brackets for the wooden shelves. The bed/pallet was positioned at the back wall. Also here a space in the right wall was covered in plaster and in the middle was a horizontal trace within which a wooden shelf to support a lantern would have been embedded.  The usual belongings, a casserole, bowls, jugs, some toilette utensils and some surgical instruments, had fallen from the shelf positioned along the walls. More towards the left corner of the back wall, at the foot of the bed, was placed a jug of clear glass, with round body and cylindrical neck (fig.67)

 

 Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Torcularium room R. Clear glass jug with round body and cylindrical neck.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.67).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Torcularium room R. Clear glass jug with round body and cylindrical neck.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.67).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Torcularium room R. Clear glass jug with round body and cylindrical neck.
Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.
Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24582. See in Field Museum

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Torcularium room R. Clear glass jug with round body and cylindrical neck.

Photo © Field Museum of Natural History - CC BY-NC.

Now in the Boston Field Museum, inventory number 24582. See in Field Museum

 

Room S,  Cella olearia, or Room for the oil (see Pasqui, p.496)

 

This was an area to contain the vessels that contained the oil. They were kept in the “corridor” between the doorway to the cella vinaria and the doorway to the oil torcularium. This covered area was well chosen being warm and not ventilated, as according to the ancients, whereas the cella vinaria should have a cold environment, the room for oil production needed to be warm and less ventilated.  Placed on the ground here were five large terracotta dolia.

 

The large earthenware dolia of the passageway and the others of the cella vinaria, used for oil, would have suffered much damage by the earthquake of 63AD, such as those found placed one near to the other, so that at the least shock they could butt against.  They were then restored with binding and with lead handles combined so well that even today many of them could contain liquids.  But to prevent an oil leak that could occur in case of breakage of one or more vessels, ingeniously the floor of the passage was inclined towards the wine torcularium. Indeed, at the lacus of this, the wall was perforated, and the floor furrowed in guise to receive the liquid and carry it across to the wall in the same lacus.  

 

 

Room T,  Torcularium (press) for the olives (see Pasqui, p.497)

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1972. Photograph from model of Villa, room T, the olive press room can be seen in the centre-left.

Room S, the corridor that contained the vessels for the oil can be seen in the centre-right, with arched doorway leading to room Q, cella vinaria.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J72f0514

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Torcularium “T” upper left contains the olive press. Trapetum “U” in the corner contains the olive mill. 
In the corridor by the entrance to cella Vinara “Q” is area “S” with 5 dolia for storage of oil.
Area “R” is the four rooms related to the torcularium. Model of villa in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Torcularium “T” upper left contains the olive press. Trapetum “U” in the corner contains the olive mill.

In the corridor by the entrance to cella vinaria “Q” is area “S” with 5 dolia for storage of oil.

Area “R” is the four rooms related to the torcularium. Model of villa in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

 

In a well-built villa, there would have been two torcularia, one for the grapes and the other for the olives; and as such we find it in the villa of Pisanella. The second torcularium was entered by the doorway that was at the bottom of the passage, i.e. near the oil dolia that we have noted. It was a large rectangular room with two window vents, high up, at the top of the opposite wall, and with a doorway towards the corner at the left of the entrance,  which communicated with the trapetum (room U). The small windows were to give little light and little ventilation, as neither light nor ventilation came from the annexed trapetum, as this lacked windows. And in this oil workshop corresponded to the rules established by the ancient writers of rustic things, and scrupulously observed so far; in as much as the grindstones and the oil-press, which for the most would have operated in winter were in a sheltered place and kept warm.

 

The torcular occupied the corner to the right of the back wall, and lever operated in the sense of the greater length of the room. The arrangement of the arbor and the stipites were identical to that of grape presses.

 

In the space between the forum and the wall in which the entrance opened was the lacus (s), formed of a quadrilateral basin, built in solid masonry and coated with concrete to make it enduring, and in a manner to make it hold firm.  But they found nothing in direct communication between the press and this basin, as was noted in the wine torcularium. Instead the oil was carried directly into the gemellar (twin tub) (t), or in terracotta oval basin, divided in two areas by a partition with holes near to the top. The purpose of this unique vessel was to decant the oil from the lees; and this operation was facilitated by the passage of liquid from one to the other empty gemellar.  A large amphora was buried in the earth in front of this vessel, and cut in the upper part of the body. It would have poured the most pure oil from the twin vessel, to give time for the same oil to be purified again in order to be taken and placed in the lacus nearby, where it cleared perfectly before being distributed in the dolia. These operations were made with wooden water drawing containers (trullae) or with terracotta vessels, having been always recommended not to use bronze water drawers.

 

 

Room U,  Trapetum (see Pasqui, p.500)

 

This occupied a small square room which was the eastern corner of the villa. It was perfectly dark, had bare walls, and a beaten-earth floor.

The “trapetum” being the oil mill was near to the right corner, and remained distant from the walls, which left enough space for the turning of the bars. It was then moved to get more space in front of the doorway, space that was needed for the transport and handling of the olives. The trapetum was used to break the olives, after they had been subjected to the initial pressure of the press, to make a type of paste.

 

The trapetum discovered in this villa was very similar to the many found so far. Pasqui closed his description by saying that while the wheels were removed and transported elsewhere, the bar with its accessories had been laid in the corner of the room closest to the trapetum.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Trapetum U. 1897 drawing the simple mechanism of the trapetum, and some of its accessories.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.70).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Trapetum U. 1897 drawing the simple mechanism of the trapetum, and some of its accessories.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.70).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. April 2018. Oil mill (trapetum) consisting of a frustoconical tub (catillus) and by two wheels of a spherical cap (orbes).
Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Ian Lycett-King. 
Use is subject to Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License v.4 International.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. April 2018. Oil mill (trapetum) consisting of a frustoconical tub (catillus) and by two wheels of a spherical cap (orbes).

Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Ian Lycett-King.

Use is subject to Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License v.4 International.

 

Room V,  Barn or nubilarium and area (Tav. XIV, V and Z). (see Pasqui, p.504-505)

 

Reached by a doorway from the left wall of the cella vinaria that led into this large rectangular area, well plastered and with four barred windows in the wall opposite the doorway. One of the short sides of this room was adjacent to the room with the olive press but it did not have any communication with it; the other short side formed the south corner of the villa. Another doorway, larger than the first and situated opposite it, led outdoors onto a paved area (room Z) surrounded by a wall.

 

This external doorway being outside received more solid protection, and in fact for the reinforcing of its wooden doorjambs two pieces of basalt with deep joints were located on the sides of the threshold. The nearness of this area to an uncovered area and the pile of fodder and hay found there, make it recognized as a barn, i.e. the covered place, in which the piles were put before threshing, and likewise in the same area was the floor on which the threshing was done.  The large exterior barn doorway was well suited for the passage of carts and wagons, of which the remains were recognized within the same, and for the convenience of the transportation of grain or hay. A pile of hay, mixed with chickpeas and beans was placed there as forage for the horses. It occupied the nearly the whole east wall that was in contact with the torcularium, and stretched almost to the doorway. These piles had brought about a fire in this part of the building, fire that reached only to carbonise the large chestnut beams supporting the roof, but which was extinguished by the fall of the beams.

 

In the middle of the nubilarium/barn, between the two doorways, a lot of tiles with different stamps had accumulated, equal to those of the tiles covering the building. More towards the wall corresponding to the façade, but still in the middle of the barn, some terracotta lids (opercula) had been deposited, similar to those that were found on the large earthenware dolia of the cella vinaria.

 

The fire had destroyed a cart leaning against the wall where the smaller doorway opened.  There remained wheel rims, hub rings, many brackets of sturdy iron plates, which bound the poles and frame; also two bronze tops depicting a large nut, empty on one side, within which the wood was still fixed, and ornamented by the other with a goat’s head.

 

A remarkable discovery happened in this sort of hay-loft where they found a pile of wooden doors, placed on the floor, one on top of the other like a stack.  They were also partly charred from the fire; indeed it was because of this that their traces were preserved in this visible manner. By calculating the number of the large complete hinges that were found one against the other, and which were more than seventy, one must conclude that there were a considerable number of doors. In addition to the hinges, some bronze handles, on gliding plate, were found here, equal to those found in the first wing of the portico (fig.71).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Nubilarium V. 1897 drawing of bronze handle.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.71).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Nubilarium V. 1897 drawing of bronze handle.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.71).

 

also simple ring handles, locks, wooden latch heads (repagula), wrapped with copper foil and with iron window-catches (fig. 72, 72a) and bronze forked and corner plates, which were used as a leaves to the same door-latch (fig. 73, 73a).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Nubilarium V. 1897 drawing of window catch.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.72).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Nubilarium V. 1897 drawing of window catch.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.72).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Nubilarium V. 1897 drawing of window catch.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.72a).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Nubilarium V. 1897 drawing of window catch.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.72a).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Nubilarium V. 1897 drawing of bronze corner plate.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.73).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Nubilarium V. 1897 drawing of bronze corner plate.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.73).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Nubilarium V. 1897 drawing of bronze door leaf.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.73a).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. Nubilarium V. 1897 drawing of bronze door leaf.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.73a).

 

 

It should be noted that both by the form and number of the aforementioned accessories, and by the extent of the charred mass, the said doors were very large, so not suitable for the rooms of the owner’s part of the villa, where in fact one does not know of the absence of some of the doors.  Of it comes the consequence that the same had been brought from another building, or if they had been made anew, were destined for other buildings.

 

 

Room Z ,  Area on south side of villa. (see Pasqui, p.504-506)

 

This area (room Z) was reached through a  large doorway situated in the façade leading to the open-air with a paved floor and surrounded by a low wall.

 

 

Upper floor rooms

 

The villa of Pisanella did not only consist of a ground floor. It is true that some sides of it were covered by a roof; i.e. the left short side of the portico at the entrance, room A) and all the large rooms used for the grape press (room. P, a, b). We also know that the other sides, that was the rooms on the long side of the portico (rooms B, D, E, F, G), the kitchen and its annexe (rooms H, I), and the bathrooms (rooms. M, N, O) had only a low ceiling just usable, which served for storage of wine amphorae (apotheca). But the other sides had a habitable floor, which was quite widespread.

 

This top floor consisted of two groups of rooms; one over the short wing of the portico at the front; the other above the nubilarium/barn (room V), over the oil workshop (rooms T, U) and above the rooms of the torcularium (room R). This last was the owner’s dwelling, as the rooms were stuccoed and painted in various colours; there were marble thresholds at doors and marble window sills as well.

 

Few clues remained of the rooms that made up the first group,  and not even visible from that part where you entered. It was certain that here the upper floor had windows or a type of loggia, in correspondence with the court-yard, and that under the floor for these openings protruded a little roof, as we already mentioned. It was recognized that on the line of the middle pilaster of the short wing of the portico, that room was transversally divided by a low wall, over which a wooden partition was raised. This resulted in two rooms, a larger, which occupied the entire width of the walkway, which came up above the porter’s room, and the other smaller room, between the said pilaster and the wall of the cella vinaria.

 

In the first a huge number of amphorae were found arranged around the walls, many of which had inscriptions and with numbered signs (nos. 240-243, 246-251). Among these some bore the indication of garum, namely that they contained fish sauce, but one of them was still filled with the scales and spines of fish.

 

In the second which was used as a cubiculum, the remains of a wooden couch/bed was found towards a corner. Leaning near to the masonry partition wall, was a small chest, furnished with hinges and bronze lock.  There were about fifteen gold coins from Tiberius to Vespasian,  equal to the ones uncovered near to the beam fallen in the middle of the cell vinaria; and many silver and bronze coins that also were of the same period, some carved stones, some forms of glass with figures in relief, removed from rings, and some surgical instruments.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Bronze candelabrum with a knotted stem.
At the bottom is a tripod stand with equine feet and at the top are three rods on which rests the disc used to support the lamp.
Pasqui describes find no. 107 as a bronze candelabrum with knotty stem, placed on three horse feet, between which stand out three serpentine tails, and with small circular, fused plate and shaped on a lathe. Alt. M. 0.98.
Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Bronze candelabrum with a knotted stem.

At the bottom is a tripod stand with equine feet and at the top are three rods on which rests the disc used to support the lamp.

Pasqui describes find no. 107 as a bronze candelabrum with knotty stem, placed on three horse feet, between which stand out three serpentine tails, and with small circular, fused plate and shaped on a lathe. Alt. M. 0.98.

Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

Laying on the ground next to each other were two bronze candelabra: the first, not very large, with a knotted stem placed on the feet of a horse (no. 107); the other rather large, with fluted barrel, with housing for a lamp and with three cat’s paws at the base.  Alongside one candelabra a terracotta lamp with six gargoyles was overthrown, with handle of an ornate ring  bent over by large leaf and entirely covered with ruby paint (coperta di vernice corallina).  Another lamp, but of bronze and simple shape, had fallen towards the corner to the right of the partition, and perhaps belonged to the smaller candelabra. Completing the finds of this room was the bottom of an amphora, placed on the floor and used as a fireplace or as a means of heating, because it was full of ashes and carbon.

 

By the furnishings of the room and by the hoard found in the chest, which certainly could not have belonged to a servant, I am of the opinion that here lived the vilicus, (bailiff or steward of a farm/estate) i.e. the head of the rustic family, to whom the business of the villa was entrusted. The said room corresponded just above the entrance doorway, then the vilicus could have been able to watch this entrance to the villa, as admonished by the ancient writers.

 

The most noble quarters occupied the entire right side of the building, and extended as far as the room of the grape press, having its entrance by a wooden staircase which was clearly visible at the time of excavation, which occupied half the width of the corridor where the olive earthenware vessels were arranged, and was found in the vicinity of the holes made in the wall of the torcularium and of the cella vinaria, going up and over the passage to this last.

 

At the top of this stairs, for its entire width, was found a landing which was closed in front with a partition, in which was perhaps a doorway, and equally closed on the line of the torcularium (room, R) in the manner to form a type of small room, on the left.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Upper floor plan.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.74).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Upper floor plan.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.74).

 

Here is a combined plan (fig. 74), and includes the entire floor, and explains not only the site of the stairs and landing, but also the modifications of the upper quarters, in respect to the lower rooms.

 

The landing gave on to a square hall (a), which in comparison with the floor below, was the entire width of the passageway which was used for access to the internal rooms of the torcularium and the second bedroom which had its doorway in the same passage. This landing room was lit from a wide window, opening on to the cella vinaria, which had a sill or large very robust marble threshold and had two bearings for the hinges of the doors. From this room all the rooms were entered that were arranged around three of its walls.

 

Room “f”, which occupied the east corner of the building, had no indication of a doorway, and similarly the large room “h”, which was found exactly above the nubilarium/barn.  The walls of the large room were covered with plaster and were spread with white stucco, without other ornament than a ledge of ash colour, which ran around all the inside.

 

At the head of the stairs, between the two partitions of wood, many bronze vessels were found, some of which were very large, and type of vase for the stove, many other vessels repeating the most common forms, used for cooking utensils and table, were found. Also found were many terracotta pots and amphorae. In the two corners of the wall that was opposite the entrance doorway, were placed or rather stacked, many wine amphorae with lids. At the window, and then for a good stretch along the wall itself, were leaning, one against the other, many slabs of white and coloured marble, almost all broken and some decorated with cornice.  Evidently these were stored there, and came from a demolition, because their rough side was covered with plaster.  It was not improbable that they were intended to be cut into pieces for a mosaic floor.

 

In the middle of the wall opposite to the large window, the imprint of a wooden cabinet with doors garnished with bone hinges and other bronze mechanisms was recognised. It contained two bronze vessels in the form of cylindrical boxes, in the bottom of one was a black liquid (nos. 331 and 332); a bronze balance that carried the sign of a needle (no. 131); a weight in the form of an amphora that could have belonged to the balance (no. 132); some large and small needles, fragments of ivory spindles and other tools for women’s work and toilette. Along with these, a few copper and some silver coins were also gathered.

 

The room “b”, was located above the first room assigned to the press-workers opposite to the entrance of the cella vinaria. It was entered by an opening towards the left corner of the entrance, and perhaps took its light from a corresponding window above the roof of the torcularium.  It was covered with rough plaster, that was made with lime and brick-paste, and was devoid of any decoration.  Also its floor, located at the same level as the previous room, consisted of a layer of concrete overlaid with tiles and boarding.

 

Not even this room was inhabited, but used simply as a storage place for some out-of-use objects, taken from elsewhere.  Indeed along the wall opposite the entrance were massed several slabs of white and coloured marble, removed, such as those already described, from other buildings: towards the left corner in a heap were two large bronze pots, and bowls and small copper implements for drawing water.  Noted among other vases was the discovery of a bronze plate, with long strigulated handle with a ram’s head and with medallion in the centre, where in low relief was seen a multiform Scylla (fig.75), that with arms and legs that ended in figures of dogs grabbing the castaways by a ship’s prow.  

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Upper floor.
Bronze plate, with long strigulated handle with a ram’s head and with medallion centre, where a multiformed Scylla, with arms and legs that ended in figures of dogs is grabbing the castaways by a ship’s prow.  
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.75).

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Upper floor.

Bronze plate, with long strigulated handle with a ram’s head and with medallion centre, where a multiform Scylla, with arms and legs that ended in figures of dogs is grabbing the castaways by a ship’s prow. 

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, (fig.75).

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. bronze handled dish (patera) showing Scylla attacking the companions of Ulysses. The handle is ancient, but not made for this dish.
Photo © Trustees of the British Museum. Inventory number BM 1897,0726.7. Use subject to CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. bronze handled dish (patera) showing Scylla attacking the companions of Ulysses.

The handle is ancient, but not made for this dish.

Photo © Trustees of the British Museum. Inventory number BM 1897,0726.7. Use subject to CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

 

We noted that probably the window of this room was above the roof of the torcularium. This was recognised by the fact that on the windowsill of this window, which was at the same level as the roof of the torcularium, we saw signs of a fishing-net, which was lying there with the leads remaining, and the trace of the same net continued into the interior of the room, where it appeared that a large part of it remained with its leads left on. You could see that at least half of this net had been spread on the roof to be dried.

 

From this room “b”, you entered into the other more internal room "c", which had its window in the back wall of the villa. This small modest room, as the first room, was simply spread with reddish plaster without any decoration, and with floor of opus signinum, which was found collapsed.  This room did not contain any objects, but perhaps the measuring vessel of bronze, that will be mentioned when we describe the room below, was dropped from this room.

 

The room “d” had its entrance from the stairs, and was divided from this by means of a partition made of wood, covered in cement and coloured as the remaining walls.  The wooden partition was, for stability, used in place of a solid wall, as the underlying room at that point was separated from the corridor (see room R) only by a wooden partition. The cubiculum walls were covered with smooth white plaster, with red bands and with red frills. At the bottom opened a large window with splays painted with red bands and with a marble sill. The dividing partition of wood had been made instead of a solid wall, because this would be lacking stability due to the fact that the room underneath at the same point, was also divided from the corridor by a wooden partition (see room R). The walls of this cubiculum were covered with smooth plaster and coloured white, with divisions of red bands and with a red ledge. A large window opened at the rear with a marble windowsill, around which iron brackets remained which held the frame of the shutter. This room was preserved with much height, i.e. until the window lintel, as can be seen in fig. 52, representing the longitudinal section of the villa on the line from the grape press (room P) and the section showing the rear of these rooms (above room R).

 

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Cross section of rooms showing remains of upper floor above room R.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 52.

Boscoreale, Villa della Pisanella. 1897. Cross section of rooms showing remains of upper floor above room R.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 52.

 

The tops of the walls were found at about 1.80m from the current surface of the soil.  A wooden cupboard was found on the wall towards the right corner at the entrance. It had hinges, bronze lock and handles, also more internal shelves on which were placed many objects. In fact in the upper wall were gathered twenty terracotta lamps (no.110-113) of various shapes, some rough, some with decoration and painted red, but without any trace of combustion in their spouts.  Among them was a bronze lamp of simple form, with a ring handle embellished above by a half-moon and with a lid, and another bronze lamp on whose sides were three rings from which hung the chains to keep it suspended. On another shelf was a bronze statuette representing a veiled Isis with a nimbus above her head (no.376), also the bronze seal with the name of L. Caecili Aphrodisi, written backwards, thus

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Upper floor. Drawing of seal of L CAECILI APHRODISI.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, p. 516.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Upper floor. Drawing of seal of L CAECILI APHRODISI.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, p. 516.

 

Villa of Pisanella, Boscoreale. Upper floor. Bronze seal with name L. Caecilius Aphrodisi. 
Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

Villa of Pisanella, Boscoreale. Upper floor. Bronze seal with name L. Caecilius Aphrodisi.

Now in Boscoreale Antiquarium.

 

On the same shelf, three large red pottery bowls were found (nos. 231 and 232): then at the bottom of the cupboard a turquoise glass vase was placed, in the form of askos, with round mouth and arched handle, which crossed it at the top for its entire length. Next to this was another glass conical vase (futile); and then needles, spindles and other women’s tools, two mirrors in rectangular slabs of bronze (nos. 359 and 360), tweezers, spatulas, and probes for surgical use.

 

Another room “e” also had its entrance from the large room and took light from a window that was in the rear wall of the villa (see fig.52). The walls were preserved to a height that corresponded nearly up until the lintel of the window, all covered with white stucco and decorated with green and red bands, and with black zoccolo (plinth) bordered by light colour. In the middle of the panels were painted birds pecking fruits (nos. 13 and 15); and in the upper part which seemed to be under an attic or of the vault of a small cornice, was a dark frieze, as the zoccolo, divided with circular yellow medallions, on which were repeated profiles of women (no.18) between which garlands of green and yellow foliage were stretched. This last decoration one could recognize from the fragments of plaster that were found above the remains of the floor attached at the corners.  Speaking of the room below, we have mentioned as at this point, we do not know how long or with what purpose, a well had been opened. So it was natural that no object would have remained in one or the other room. We note only that between the filling-up earth, a bronze candelabra support in the shape of a goat leg, was found.

 

In contact with this last room, on the east corner of the building but without having any sign of a doorway, was a sun-terrace (f) which corresponded to the trapetum (room U) below. Its walls were elevated up to 1.20m high and covered by hydraulic cement, as if the terrace would have held water.

Even the “piantito”, preserved all around the walls at the moment of discovery, was built in order to assume there was a kind of water conservation.  Strengthening this opinion, the finding of three keys of bronze, detached from the lead tubes, and placed above the wall that divided this room from the other complying with the olive press-room.

 

But against the opinion of this being a container for the water, was the fact that it would have been found in a place where, reconstructing the cover of the entire building, no roof would have come to lean towards that part, so that it could not have been used as a compluvium. And if the water came by means of forced pipeline, the remains of the lead channels would have been found, the signs of the holes for the inflow, as well as for the output of the same water. The finding of bronze keys above one of its walls was simply uncertain, as some of the remains of other objects found in all this upper floor were out of place. The deepened holes around the walls would have indicated the wood supports, on which was placed a roof.  The area was accessed perhaps with wooden ladder and balcony placed in the short corridor of the adjoining room (g); and justified its solid concrete roof, because the said terrace would have been exposed to the inclement weather. That this was then a place covered by a roof and that was entered from the internal part of the house was again proved by some precious objects gathered here. In fact almost in the middle of the room, a large number of pendants in the shape of shields, made from copper sheet in the back of which were hooks and in the front were silver medallions representing female masks. These ornaments were not found heaped together, but fallen to earth in a certain order, which demonstrated that at the moment of the catastrophe they were applied to a harness for horses. Other ornaments and trimmings, that would have belonged to the same harness, were found confused with the mentioned ornaments, and consisted of a large number of copper studs with tips, and in rings, buckles, hooks and bronze brackets. Together with the same horse ornaments were found a bronze bit with crossbar and curved rods, inserted in the end of the bar also in bronze (see fig.76), in the form of a muzzle with support plate for the nose, and with eyes drilled correspondence with the mouth in order to insert the bit.  Finally leaning at the corner of the dividing wall with the adjacent room lay a huge number of wine and olive amphorae, placed here empty, and near to these was a wicker basket filled with broken white and coloured glass vessels.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Upper floor. Drawing of bronze horse bit.
See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 76.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. 1897. Upper floor. Drawing of bronze horse bit.

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, fig. 76.

 

 

Another doorway opened into the room, precisely in the middle of the wall that was opposite to the wooden ladder. The signs of the door were visible, and found in their place were hinges, sealed with lead, in the marble threshold.  This room (“g”) corresponded above the room of the olive press (torcularium da olive); taking light from a window located towards the right corner of the rear wall, that was in correspondence with the side of the villa, and from another window almost opposite to the first and opening onto the cella vinaria. It was all covered with smooth plaster, coloured black, on which panels and red and green bands, (no.16), lines of lotus flowers painted in red and yellow on white background (no.17), all stood out. In the middle of the walls were two figured squares, fallen together with much of the plaster, so that it was not possible to save other than a figure of a woman seen in profile, dressed in a yellow robe with long sleeves, bent forward with two apples in her hands (no.13). It would seem that these central squares were surrounded by columns and doors in dazzling colours (no.10), and with minute decoration of small leaves, cornices and medallions. Numerous fragments of this central square, but in a bad state, were gathered  even within the rooms of the torcularium below.

 

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Upper floor. Black ground fresco with a female figure feeding two apples to a child or animal. 
Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Villa della Pisanella, Boscoreale. May 2018. Upper floor. Black ground fresco with a female figure feeding two apples to a child or animal.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

Along the left wall, the room was closed by a thin partition, made of masonry with a hint of a door in this. Used perhaps to accommodate the wooden stairs  that would have led to the terrace (solarium) as we have said.  This room was not habited, as no trace of a bed or furniture was found, with the exception of the remains of two wooden constructions, one on the wall where opened the entrance, the other on the half of that facing, the which structures seemed that they did not belong to cupboards and chests, but to simple brackets or shelves without doors. However, they did not contain any objects. In this room was found only a basket of rushes, filled with marble floor tiles.

 

Speaking of the cella vinaria, we noted that along the left wall, you could see the holes for the beams that would have supported a board floor or balcony, which reached the external door of the large room (“h”)  that was above the nubilarium or barn, and that did not have access from another part. Also visible at the time of the excavation was the arrangement of the beams, and the imprint left in the layer of ash. But despite this, it remains to be explained how you could access onto that landing. It was not possible by a ladder leaning onto one or other of the walls, because the dolia placed in the cella vinaria near to the walls would have been an impediment.  The supposition remains that to the same landing one accessed by a free ladder, and perhaps moveable, going up by one of the avenues interposed between the double rows of dolia, and that corresponded to the site which we have shown on the plan, with dotted lines (fig.74).

 

The upper doorway was in correspondence with the lower, furnished at the exterior with a frame on which were fixed the shutters, which opened outwards. The room occupied the same space as the nubilarium below, with walls and floor in opus signinum, with four small barred windows in the long wall facing the door and in correspondence with the similar windows of the lower floor (see room V and Z), and with a bigger window opening on the façade wall.

 

The fire that started in the underneath barn had determined the fall of the floor, so it was not possible to ascertain whether this room contained objects or furniture.  But it was certain that this room could not have been used as a dwelling, having regard to its isolation in respect to the others of this floor and its mode of access, not to mention that the small windows and rough plaster would indicate it to be more of a store-room. It was impossible that a rustic villa of this entity, which would have been surrounded by a vast estate for the production of wine and oil that it could offer, would not have had a warehouse/storeroom where the grain and fruit could be stored. And a warehouse would have corresponded well with the elevated position of this room (fig.74, h): so much so that I would recommend a hanging barn in preference to those on the ground, to prevent moisture.

 

Pasqui’s Deliberations

 

After what has been exposed, arises the question why in some areas of the Boscoreale villa everything was found in a normal state, however in other places furniture was deposited in disarray, and some of these of forms and sizes that could not have belonged to this building. It is certain that at the time of the disaster, the villa would have been inhabited by the vilicus and by servants involved in the agricultural work.  In fact, in the rooms assigned to this family, the beds and other household goods belonging to these individuals, were found in good order; the savings or earnings were well preserved; in addition the dogs were tied in front of the doors; the horses kept in the barn; a pig with various piglets in the barn, and hens in the poultry pen (pullarium) next to the kitchen and in the courtyard. They did not lack any tools for work; i.e. the cart, hoes, pickaxes, hammers and nails; neither hay or grain for the animals; nor wheat and millet for men; nor provisions of wood inside and outside the house.

 

On the contrary, the most disturbance was in the rooms that should have formed the owner’s quarters, annexed to the rustic building, and in the others of the bath area. Here there were no indications of beds, arranged or dismantled; no furniture or objects in its own place, and not even suited to the place where it was found. In fact in the middle of the courtyard, bath-tubs were found; in a bedroom rustic tools were gathered; in the torcularium, furniture, ornaments, gold coins and precious vessels of silver and bronze; in the rooms of the upper floor objects of various species placed there in bulk, and no indication that this place was used in that moment of time for living by the owner.

 

But there is more!  All the furniture and all the objects that were found were so divided and disordered, they could not have belonged to this villa.

 

Take the bronze basins (fig.16 and 17), which for their size would not have found a place in the tepidarium and in the calidarium, where they lacked special water pipes that these basins would have needed to use, and where the doors were too small, that one of the basins would not have been able to pass.  Take the various gutter pieces (gronda) that could not have been put in place in the peristyle, but covered with lime in those parts that would have been bricked-up, covered with stucco and corroded or broken in the protruding structure, clearly demonstrated they had already been in use, not only in one, but by their variety, in three different parts of a building (figs.18-20). One can say also of the marble slabs found in the upper floor, also with visible signs of lime and with decorations of various cornices; also of the many tessellated pieces that came from ruined floors.

 

It has the most valid argument from that pile of doors, garnished with hinges, handles and locks, and also from many keys stored within a cupboard; from ironmongery or other doors standing together in a short side of the courtyard.

 

These doors for their greatness did not agree with the rooms of a rustic villa; not even one could suppose that might have been used to replace those that already were found at their place in nearly all rooms; without taking account that, having regard to the number of hinges and handles and to the numbers of keys, for the most part largely placed in the cupboard, the modest owner’s quarters could not have had as many empty spaces to close.

 

In the midst of so much disorder we see the utmost vigilance exercised. The porter’s room was in complete order, and at his door a hound was found tied.

 

Another dog was tied to the kitchen door, another towards the stable where one assumes there was an exit; another dog was in the torcularium towards the window that communicated with the portico.  Here then, where the treasure was placed and where there was precious furniture, a bed had been placed facing the door, that for his work and for its subject he could not admit to a servant, but had temporarily removed from the rich furniture, together with the table, the vessels and the bronze candelabra, that were placed around the bed. Perhaps the same vilicus had in his custody the valuable objects, and for added security, abandoned the room that was above the entrance doorway, and was established in the torcularium.

 

Don’t you find it strange that this place and the small well of the same were chosen to deposit the precious objects; because compared to all the other rooms of the villa this part was the most hidden and the most defendable. It was at this place, recommended by the owner and above all to the responsibility of all, that the servants ran to take refuge in the moment of danger and there they found their death.

 

By the narrated facts, one cannot suppose that the house had been disassembled to give the place temporary repairs, and much less for new additions. It is true that some restoration work can be recognized in the last cubiculum of the portico, where the floor was damaged by deep furrows, but the time for this had not yet started, as where on the ground were the tools of the bricklayer and painter.  It is also true that other restoration had been done in the walls of the threshing room (room Z), outside the house, and others in the entrance of the cella vinaria (room Q).  These restorations might just suffice to give reasons for the mess that could be attributed to the owner’s quarters; but they could not be compared with the disarray in which lay the other furniture and utensils, and which for their size could not find a place in this villa. Nor is it likely that this set of furniture and fittings had been prepared to serve new adaptations or extensions of the villa, as we do not have any signs or clues to a new construction.

 

Then the thought runs perhaps for another house for the same master, situated not far away, from where the bath-tubs, the doors and the rest had been removed by order of the owner in the moment in which the same house was restored. But it was equally inexplicable why together with the tubs, the doors, and other heavy material, i.e. objects of heavy weight, that should have been relocated to their site after the restoration of the house had finished, would have been brought into this villa, and precious objects hidden, especially coins and personal ornaments.

 

Nor even you could admit that it was all the proceeds of a robbery done in Pompeii; because if some of the objects or groups of objects found can be considered as a result of robbery or looting, the heavy objects and the doors would not have been stolen. And then with the proceeds of this theft, thieves would have taken a road in the opposite direction to this, which would have given them hope to be saved; i.e. they would not have gone at the moment of the catastrophe so far from Pompei, and towards the mouth of Vesuvius, where the damage and the danger would have been more.

 

See Pasqui A., La Villa Pompeiana della Pisanella presso Boscoreale, in Monumenti Antichi VII 1897, pages 397-554.

 

 

Part 1      Part 2      Part 3      Part 4

 

 

 

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