Today started with ALL of us heading into the Garden of the Fugitives, after it was decided that only a “few” of us should go in, because it’s not clear if our permit allows us to go in at all. No one yelled at us, nothing was damaged, so no harm no foul. One small latrine kitchen, yes that’s a room category, and a very nice masonry triclinium later and we headed back out onto the street at the top of the garden, into a restaurant-type establishment.
Several dining rooms, a sunken entry off the street lined with benches to eat take-out and several food-prep areas. The frescoes/plaster is mostly gone and there are no mosaics left, but it was still very interesting. You did get a feel for the function of the space: easy to imagine ordering a snack and taking it out to a bench below the street, in the shade. The main prep room was very large, very irregular in shape and had a brick cooking platform and a masonry stairway. Really fun to draw that plan map with all the tourists crawling around–sometimes we don’t have the luxury of locking ourselves into the villa while we work.
Our third and final stop for the day was a large horticultural area with vineyard, masonry triclinium, a couple dining rooms, several HUGE dolia and a large area of un-excavated lapili with several plaster casts on top of it, including a couple of body casts. It has been featured in more than one Hystery Channel documentary, including one with vulcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson several years ago. It’s one of the better places where you can follow the different stages of the eruption. We go back tomorrow to re-debate the function of a mostly un-excavated room. I figure, if you can’t see what’s under 1 meter of ash and pumice, how can anybody really say for certain what a room was used for. That’s just me. I know that I’m up for mapping it, if they do decide that it’s related to eating or drinking.
First thing tomorrow morning Mary will take us on a tour of the Roman Baths–one of my favorites. We’ll wrap up the “Garden of the Giant Dolia” site and move onto something new and exciting, and hopefully “timely” in nature.