Castellum Aquae Pompeii. 1903 plan of water tower. Note the north and south walls are not parallel.
Castellum Aquae Pompeii. July 2003. Looking south-west across Porta del Vesuvio.
Castellum Aquae Pompeii. May 2006. Looking north from Via del Vesuvio.
Initially most people used wells or collected rainwater in the impluvium of their houses and water supply was not always reliable.
The construction of an aqueduct by Augustus solved this problem, bringing water from Serino in Avellino province.
A branch of the Serino aqueduct brought water to Pompeii.
A water tower or castellum Aquae was built at the highest point in the town next to the Vesuvian Gate.
It was at about 43 metres above sea level in order to make the distribution easier.
It fed a series of water columns with tanks on top which helped maintain pressure and regulate flow.
Castellum Aquae, Pompeii. 1964. Looking north, with Vesuvian Gate on the right.
Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
Castellum Aquae Pompeii. 1903 view of south side.
The south side is the most ornate with four pillars bounding three arches.
On each of the pillars is the outline of a capital carved protruding from the bricks.
The three water exit channels are in the centre at the bottom.
The two windows are narrow slits on the outside but widen out more on the inside.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1903, p. 26, fig. 1.
Castellum Aquae Pompeii. 1902 excavation photo of water tower and Porta Vesuvio.
The east wall is constructed in opus reticulatum, the same as the west wall.
The walls of the gate are older than the Castellum Aquae which has been cut into them.
The north wall, also leaning against the walls of the city, is of rougher construction, and is not parallel to the south wall.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1903, p. 28, fig. 3.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1906, p. 97-100.
Inside is a cistern which distributed water through three outlets which served different areas of the town.
Castellum Aquae Pompeii. July 2010. Painted figures above inlet channel.
Castellum Aquae Pompeii. May 2006. Painted figures above inlet channel.
Castellum Aquae Pompeii. July 2010. Aqueduct water inlet channel in rear of water tower.
Walls a and b are in front.
Castellum Aquae Pompeii. July 2010. Aqueduct water inlet channel.
This is in rear north wall of the water tower has a height of 1.24m.
Outside the north-west corner of the Porta del Vesuvio is a fenced water channel pit from where the light at the far end is coming.
Water came on the Augustan aqueduct of Serino which brought water from Serino in Avellino province.