July 15, 2002
Bars, mansions, workshops, an inn, a shrine, and a water-complex--the variety of the entire city is here concentrated in one city block (VI,1). Investigating this area, a small fraction of Pompeii, provides the AAPP the opportunity to explore in microcosm questions that concern the entire city. VI,1 contains buildings used of the whole range of what ancient people did--domestic, commercial, industrial, ritual, and communal. We are exploring how these different activities fitted together, and how they changed over time.
Our work this season tackles that diversity directly. AAPP staff and students are excavating in the inn, the House of the Surgeon, the "shrine" together with the stable directly behind it, and the area surrounding the public well, water tower, and fountain. The House of the Surgeon has been traditionally considered the oldest stone house in the city. Click here for a 360° view (QuickTime; 500k). It was named for a set of surgical instruments found there.
While our work always explores the uninvestigated--or the underinvestigated--we are constantly reopening old questions, problems, and even trenches. Some of our work revisits questions we faced in 2001. This summer we will continue and complete last season's excavation of the inn. What we learn from these new trenches will complete our understanding of how this area became an inn, and its earlier history as blacksmith's shops and fish salteries.
In 2001, at the opposite end of the insula, we discovered the remains of a public water main at the very edge of one of our trenches. As the season ended, this lead pipe offered a tantalizing glimpse of the potential of this year's excavations. Eighteenth-century traveler's tales report lead pipes in this area, but any physical traces of them were lost in the early looting of Pompeii. Consequently this small section of lead pipe is a rare opportunity to investigate how the water pipe was laid in this part of the city. ( See last season's work for more information on water in this area.) In the House of the Surgeon, we are reviving and re-examining the work of Amedeo Maiuri, Pompeii's most famed archaeologist. At the same time, we will unlock new areas, such as the "shrine" and stables, which no one has investigated before.