Jars of raw clay, ready to be fired in the furnace of a potter’s workshop and blocked by the fury of the eruption of Vesuvius; for the first time found in the ruins of Pompeii. A snapshot of that fateful August day in 79 AD which disrupted the lives of Pompeii, intent on a wide variety of daily activities.
And what has been discovered during recent surveys of the study conducted by the Superintendent in collaboration with the Centre Jean Bérard and the École Française de Rome, dedicated to “Craft and the Economy in Pompeii“.
An extensive research program was launched for the past 10 years and that, of late, has affected an area near the Herculaneum Porta Necropolis, just outside the walls of the Roman city, with specific studies devoted to ” organization, management and transformation in a suburban area: in burial space and commercial space. ”
The objectives of this research are intended to document the craft of the potters of the time. The study of a furnace already explored in 1838 allows to deepen the footprint, the start date of the activity, as well as identify the workspaces from the studio (potter’s wheel, ponds).
The findings were surprising. A few meters from the furnace was detected level of lava in 79 AD that locked up, protecting them, a dozen vessels not yet cooked. Direct evidence that the shop was in full swing at that terrible last day of life in Pompeii. It is thin-walled nozzles, used for drinking or food containers, decorated with small incisions and ingobbiati; the so-called “pignattini” described by archaeologists excavating in the ‘800 century newspapers of the time.
In the space adjacent to the furnace has been identified a work room for turning back with four vessels of pottery, jars containing the remains of clay, mud pots fell from a shelf and a set of tools. Elements never before documented and important for the study of ceramics and techniques used in the ars of the ancient figulina (ceramics) during the first century AD
In a second workshop have been found other two furnaces, they also used for the production of ceramic thin walls. One of the smallest dimension of which remain above the lower levels of the combustion chamber and where between the ash were found some ceramic fragments discovered. The second and third largest in the district, appears to be slightly older and even here there were baked thin-walled bowls and jugs.
The excavation research was conducted under the direction of Laëtitia Cavassa (CNRS, Centre Camille Jullian Aix-en-Provence, UMR 7299 and the Centre Jean Bérard Naples, USR 3133) in collaboration with Bastien Lemaire and was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the French Centre Jean Bérard of Naples, with funding from private patrons French (CMD² and Neptunia).