Previously we have harped about the reconstructed state of Pompeii during the Vesuvius eruption. Well this time around researchers have been able to recreate a Roman domus (house) inside Pompeii that existed before the natural disaster of 79 AD. Envisaged as a continuation of the Swedish Pompeii Project (now overseen by Sweden’s Lund University), the ‘authentic’ was led by archaeologists Anne-Marie Leander Touati – with the experts utilizing 3D scanning and even drone technologies.
The domus we see here belonged to one Caecilius Iucundus, a wealthy banker from Pompeii who lived almost 2,000 years ago. The house was located in the city block termed as Insula V1, which was thoroughly analysed by 3D scanning and drones (conducted during fieldwork expeditions between 2011 and 2012). The site itself was chosen because of its ‘prime’ location at the crossing of two of Pompeii’s main thoroughfares. Suffice it to say, the neighborhood with its easy access to the city’s commercial facilities translates to the affluence of Iucundus and the opulence of his house.
Now while we fleetingly mentioned the authentic scope of this reconstruction, the accuracy of the project is confirmed when it comes to the decorative elements, given their preserved nature in Pompeii as evidenced by archaeological surveys. On the other hand, the actual architecture of the domus is obviously based on speculative factors, though bolstered by the known style and arrangements of spatial elements used during Roman times.
For example, as we described about the typical Roman domus (check the post for details on the spatial arrangement of a Roman house) –
The architectural focus tended to be on the central courtyard. In essence, a typical Roman domus served as a dwelling for the Roman familia, while being (sometimes) used as a ‘personalized’ center for business and religious worship. As can be deduced from these functions, the extensive domus were constructed for the higher middle class Roman citizens – and even then there were no standardized forms of the ancient dwelling-type (though ‘on an average’, there were probably 8 domus per city block).
Interestingly enough, in spite of his affluence, Iucundus was not actually member of the ruling political elite of Pompeii. And in addition to his domus, the Insula V1 block also boasted two additional estates of wealthy patrons, accompanied by a tavern, bakery, laundry and gardens (one of which had its taps running for the fountain during the eruption of Vesuvius).
Lastly, in case you are interested, you can take a sneak-peak at how the researchers arrived at their ‘reconstructed’ conclusion. To that end, the team is looking forth to compile an entire 3D data set and workflow that would be made accessible to other researchers and students, for a more concerted effort on the future projects involving the grandeur of Pompeii.
Video Source: (YouTube)