If you have seen any documentary, movie or read anything about Ancient Pompeii, you are probably familiar with the house of Julius Polybius (english spelling). It is NEVER EVER open to anybody, not even visiting archaeologists! Today, Prof. Lowe sweetalked his way into the villa with Lyn, myself, Rob and Mary in tow. I am, to use a good British phrase, gobsmacked! It has been several hours since we left and I am still in shock that I got to walk through that house. I’ve wanted to see it for years but, as I said, it is closed. An extended family lived and died there. Their remains were found inside, grouped together according to their relation: slaves, dominus and domina, son and daughter-in-law (of course it is impossible to prove all this), etc. They were “immortalized” in a History Channel dramatization about the 79 AD eruption a few years ago. Well, I got to walk through their bedrooms, dining rooms, gardens, kitchen and upstairs areas today.
We started the day off in a garum factory – Roman fish sauce. There are stacks of amphorae waiting to be filled, dolia still full of fish scales and bones, dining rooms where the product was consumed, a shop out front where it was sold. From there, we moved down the block to a restaurant with 3, maybe 4 dining rooms. One contained a fresco of a diver, swimming under water. Lyn tried to convince Betty-Jo that he was diving for oysters and therefore, the room had to be food related! I got to draw/map my first kitchen complete with a cooking platform. Very dirty, amazing serpent lararium painting on the wall above it and a small latrine in the back. We have to go back tomorrow to draw the toilet, as I ran out of time today.
Attention Toni, Pablo and Javi!! No spiders yet but, we found painted epigraphs on the garum amphorae!! I am attaching pictures for you to give me your opinions. Sorry they are upside down. Those crazy Pompeians stacked them like that in the corner and there was nothing we could do…..