Archaeologists at the Roman city of Pompeii have recommenced excavations working on the Civita Giuliana, a large villa in the ancient city suburbs.
Pompeii was a Roman city, located in the modern commune of Pompeii near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area was buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
At its peak, Pompeii had a population of around 20,000 inhabitants and became an important passage for goods that arrived by sea and had to be sent toward Rome or Southern Italy along the nearby Appian Way. Largely preserved under the ash, the excavated city offers a unique snapshot of Roman life frozen at the moment it was buried, giving a detailed insight into the everyday life of its inhabitants.
The Civita Giuliana is located 700 metres northwest of the ancient city, in a suburb of Pompeii where numerous settlement complexes produced wine and oil. The excavation has started to reveal the extent of a large villa complex, previously investigated at the beginning of the 20th century by the Marquis Giovanni Imperiali where they unearthed 15 rooms split into residential and production.
The new excavations have revealed the presence of a rectangular structure with 5 quadrangular rooms, constructed with opus reticulatum walls (a form of Roman brickwork consisting of diamond-shaped bricks of tuff, referred to as cubilia, placed around a core of opus caementicium).
Two rooms have so far been extensively studied. The first room is located on the western side of the structure and is decorated with a thin layer of white plaster with traces of red stripes. The room contains a quadrangular niche called a lalarium (a shrine to the guardian spirits of the Roman household) that is bordered by a plaster frame with a quadrangular marble base. Several items, including two items of furniture, were identified as voids in the pyroclastic flow deposits that have been replicated with plaster casts.
The second room contains the remains of animals, one complete with a connected skeletal structure and a second small animal located in front of a wooden trough.
The excavation has posed new questions on the peculiarities of the complex, and has opened, or rather reopened, the debate regarding its planimetric development.
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