Franklin J.L.Jr. "Pompeii: The "Casa del Marinaio" and Its History".
Roma: L'Erma di Bretschneider, 1990. Pp. 70.
American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 96, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), p. 392.
The history of the study of Classical archaeology is well represented in 250 years of excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum. This is exemplified in the number of current projects that are documenting the rapidly deteriorating individual buildings in these cities, buildings excavated during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. It is not that there are no records of these excavations. Rather, our methods of information-gathering continue to be refined, and the questions and expectations of that information become more far-reaching and more critical. In effect, these projects seek to replace the original excavation reports with modern reports. For these reasons the publication of the "Casa del Marinaio," excavated in the 1870s, is a valuable contribution to the gradually increasing volume of accessible, contemporary documentation of these cities, for which, by modern archaeological standards, much of the information is mythologized and unscholarly.
This study has three principal chapters, brought together in a concluding chapter. The first presents the upper level of the "Casa del Marinaio" as discovered by the excavators. This area of the house is divided into its component parts: main atrium complex, sunken garden, bath complex, and small atrium. The reader is taken on a guided tour, not of the house as seen today, but as it would have appeared when first uncovered. This easy narrative style is, in many ways, reminiscent of the 19th-century guidebooks. But the author has updated this narrative by interspersing it with descriptive and interpretive comments made from his own studies of the house. As a consequence, it is neither a presentation of the observations of the excavators alone, nor a critical, clearly referenced assessment and validation of these reports. Instead the technical observations of a contemporary investigator are intertwined with the more romantic and subjective views of the 19th-century recorders. This gives a very full and vivid picture of how this house, in a little known area of the city, may have looked in A.D. 79. One must be skeptical, however, about the reliability of the section as a documentary tool for further research. This is particularly true for the wall-paintings. The author comments that "nearly all the decorations have disappeared" but, with the exception of one tantalizing glimpse on plate 6, gives little descriptive or illustrative clue as to what is extant.
The second chapter discusses subterranean rooms beneath the eastern and southern colonnades of the sunken garden. From structural evidence and the proximity to the presumed port of Pompeii, the author identifies those as horrea. The lack of evidence of amphorae leads him to argue that the horrea were used to store grain. The list of recorded finds, of seemingly domestic and luxury apparatus, plays no part in this argument, nor does the possibility of changing function over the 200 years in which the author proposes that these rooms were in use. The bakery, which would support this function, is argued to be a later addition and non-commercial. Despite these drawbacks, this section offers a significant contribution to our perceptions of the relationship between domestic and commercial life in Pompeii.
The third chapter proposes an absolute chronology for the development of this complex. The author dates the establishment of a "canonical Tuscanic atrium house" on this site, between 200 and 185 B.C. Precise evidence for this dating, or for the original plan, is not provided. Rather, both appear to be dependent on the supposition that extant atrium houses in Pompeii had an original canonical form, dating from the second century B.C. In a footnote, the author expresses his own skepticism of the widely accepted Pompeian chronologies of R. Carrington (JRS  125-38) and A. Mau (Pompeji in Leben und Kunst ) and stresses the need for a reassessment of these chronologies. Nevertheless he relies on these dating techniques to produce six building phases with absolute dates. He also employs extant(?) wall-painting, which can only provide a terminus ante quern to the wall it decorates. His assumption that there must have been repair and conversion after the A.D. 62 earthquake leads him to date both the repair to the facade, left incomplete at the time of the eruption, and the construction of a bakery, in the lower quarters, to the phase A.D. 62-79. The only dating evidence for the latter is that it postdates Third Style decoration in the bath suite above. Neither of these alterations can be convincingly shown to be a specific result of the A.D. 62 earthquake. Facade repair left incomplete for 17 years would not seem commensurate with the installation of a bakery apparently to feed the large staff that serviced the house and warehouses.
Technically, this book is well organized. The photographs are of good quality but some indication of scale, particularly for the mosaics, would have been useful. Unfortunately the quality of the plans is not high. Figures 5,7, and 8 have been wrongly labeled, further rendering chapter 2, on the building history, unsatisfactory.
In balance, the strengths of this book are that it draws our attention to an important, and apparently unique, commercial and domestic complex in Pompeii and that it provides an accessible, compact documentation of that establishment. It also highlights the desperate lack of reliable techniques for dating Pompeian buildings. Regrettably, it does little to compensate for this lack. Nor does it produce a rigorous reappraisal of prior research in the light of modern methods for analyzing and interpreting the archaeological record.(источник)
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