Villa of the Mosaic Columns

Michael Anderson (San Francisco State University)

APP Contact Person Marialaura Iadanza

The aim of the research was to perform and in depth analysis of the chronology, urban development, and utilization of Pompeii from its foundation to 79 A.D., both in the surburbium and inside the city, especially along Via Consolare. During the summers of 2016-2017, the excavations focused on the Villa of the Mosaic Columns. Samplings were carried out outside the Villa, behind the tombs that surround it, and between the  Villa and the long row of shops along Via dei Sepolcri. Combined with the study of the building, this research produced valuable new data on the Villa and its urban history. It can be summed up as follows: while the foundation year of the first core of the Villa is still unknown, it is now clear that the original topography of the area, including the Oscan-Samnite tombs above which the bulk of the buildings seem to have been built, was at a much deeper level than the Villa during its last phase. Previous alterations to the Villa resulted in the construction of a long row of shops along Via dei Sepolcri. The close link between the Villa and the street suggested that Via dei Sepolcri was owned and controlled by the Villa. The excavations in the area between the Villa and the shops provided clear evidence of a two-storey, vaulted
cryptoporticus, and rooms adjoining the core of the Villa at least on its north and west side, raising the elevation of the Villa above the surrounding buildings. Although originally part of the Villa, a share of these vaulted spaces were later gradually brought under the control of the shops prior to the 62 AD earthquake. At that moment, the lower storey of the west room was filled from top to bottom with intact amphorae and shattered pottery, while the ground floor of the cryptoporticus became the outlet of a drain from west shop. On the first storey of the cryptoporticus there was a large dolium for water storage. These elements were still in place when the eruption buried the Villa, thus preserving in situ also the container used to draw water from the dolium..