Insula VI.1 lies in the north western part of Pompeii by the Porta Ercolano. It was one of the first parts of Pompeii to be uncovered in two campaigns of excavation in 1770-71 and 1783 to 1789. One of the houses uncovered in the first campaign – the Casa del Chirurgo – had wall paintings that entranced no less a person than the Marquis de Sade when he visited during the winter of 1775/6.
Between 1995 and 2006 the insula was the subject of major excavations that explored its pre-AD 79 history. The two centuries of exposure to the elements, not to mention the bombs dropped on it by the Allies in the late summer of 1943, had reduced its original splendours to a ghost of its former self. The Soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei granted permission to a team based in the University of Bradford and latterly also in the University of Oxford to survey and excavate all the parts where no original flooring levels remained.
The intaglio which decorates the top of all the pages in this site was in use at the time of the eruption. The image is probably derived from the cult statue erected by Octavian (later the Emperor Augustus) in Rome after his victory at the battle of Actium. It was propaganda for the new imperial order, and appears to have been a popular device in Campania.
Insula VI.1 Pompeii. A view from the foot of the insula with the Via Consolare on the left and the Vicolo Narciso on the right with Vesuvius in the background. (Photo: Mike Baxter).
These pages illustrate some of the small finds and vessel glass that were recovered during the more recent excavations, and show how these finds can be used to illustrate how life was changing in Pompeii from the first century BC to the day in August AD 79 when the city was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The full report on the material is available in a book published by Archaeopress with the catalogues and much supplementary material available at the Archaeological Data Service. See here for the book and here for the digital part.
Cornelian intaglio from the Inn depicting Victory with its impression. (Catalogue no. 2.158). (Photo: Mike Baxter).
Contents copyright H.E.M. Cool and M.J. Baxter 2016