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19. Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus, Fondo Acanfora, contrada Spinelli.

Excavated 1899.

 

Villa rustica called Gnaeus Domitius Auctus found in the fondo of Matteo Acanfora in contrada Spinelli, Scafati (today Pompei), excavated by Vincenzo De Prisco in 1899.

This would have been found north-east of ancient Pompeii, and north of the Canale di Sarno

Reburied after excavation.

The name derives from a rectangular bronze signet seal found on the property.

Bibliography

Carrington, R., 1931. Studies in the Campanian Villae Rusticae: Journal of Roman Studies, 21, pp. 111 (n. 19). 112 and note 8, 113 and note 1.

Casale A., Bianco A., Primo contributo alla topografia del suburbio pompeiano: Supplemento al n. 15 di ANTIQUA ottobre-dicembre 1979, 69, p. 42, fig. 19.

Day, J., 1932. Agriculture in the life of Pompeii: Yale Classical Studies, 3, p. 186, tav. B, C, n.19.

Della Corte, M., 1965.  Case ed Abitanti di Pompei. Napoli: Fausto Fiorentino, p. 447.

Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, pp. 392ff.

Rostovzev, M., 1973. Storia economica e sociale dell'Impero romano, Firenze, 5° ediz., p. 34, note 26, n. 19.

Van der Poel, H. B., 1981. Corpus Topographicum Pompeianum, Part V. Austin: University of Texas, n.19, p. 22, and plan.

 

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. Plan of villa after 1899 excavations.
In Scafati were found the remains of ancient villa of l’ ager pompeianus (rural surroundings of the city).
In the fondo of Matteo Acanfora in contrada Spinelli, Vincenzo de Prisco made this excavation from early March to mid-May of this year, an excavation that brought briefly to light the areas seen on the plan, which is offered here. 
The existence of an ancient villa of well-known type was established in this place, or the part of it today explored, without doubt the part used for rustic business.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 392, fig. 1.
See Casale A., Bianco A., Primo contributo alla topografia del suburbio pompeiano: Supplemento al n. 15 di ANTIQUA ottobre-dicembre 1979, 69, p. 42, fig. 19.

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. Plan of villa after 1899 excavations.

In Scafati were found the remains of ancient villa of l’ ager pompeianus (rural surroundings of the city).

In the fondo of Matteo Acanfora in contrada Spinelli, Vincenzo de Prisco made this excavation from early March to mid-May of this year, an excavation that brought briefly to light the areas seen on the plan, which is offered here.

The existence of an ancient villa of well-known type was established in this place, or the part of it today explored, without doubt the part used for rustic business.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 392, fig. 1.

See Casale A., Bianco A., Primo contributo alla topografia del suburbio pompeiano: Supplemento al n. 15 di ANTIQUA ottobre-dicembre 1979, 69, p. 42, fig. 19.

 

Peristyle “A”

The areas so far discovered were gathered around the peristyle "A", which was surrounded on the west side and part of the north side by portico "B"

Portico "B"

This was supported by pillars and a single column of masonry covered with brick plaster.

The pillars were brick, tufa and limestone, with a coating of cocciopesto.  

Around turned the rainwater channel with coating also of brick and sloping towards the cistern “a”.

 

Found in portico “B” on 27th March were two human skeletons, near to which were found the following objects:

Bronze: two bridles and various ornaments for horses.

Glass-paste: several perforated spheres.

Terracotta: washbasin

 

And on the 29th March,  

Bronze: two small scales, a large bucket and vase with two handles in the shape of the shell. 

Lead: several supposed weights. 

Iron: a hoe. 

Travertine: two weights with iron handles.

 

Found on the 6th April towards the south side of the peristyle,

Iron: a lock and other indescribable fragments.

Terracotta: an entire amphora and several others broken, two pots, a sieve or strainer and fragments of a cup.

Cella vinaria "C"

In the north-east corner of the peristyle was a portion of the cella vinaria with six large earthenware dolia (jars) in situ.

Room decoration

Before we move on to the description of individual rooms, generally their construction was of Opus incertum, strengthened by brick jambs alternated with rows of tufa, or jambs of limestone and tufa. Except for two rooms, "D" and "H", which had decorated walls, all the others were rustic, all with the a zoccolo of cocciopesto.

Room “D”

The entrance doorway was under the northern ala of portico "B".

It had decoration on a yellow background partitioned by white pillars, ornamented by candelabras with foliage.

In this room the most notable find of this excavation was made.

 

Found on the 18th March were –

Gold: a leaflet (of Laurel) and a pair of earrings in the form of spheres a bit squashed, with six inset blue-coloured stones, possibly of blue glass-paste, but not to say that these earrings were by any means devoid of artistic merit.

 

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.
A silver statuette of Isis-Fortuna, 0.13m tall with the small hexagonal pedestal also of silver.
On her head, she has a modius (cylindrical headdress), a crescent moon and a lotus flower.
With the right hand, she held up a rudder and on the left wrist was a bucket and some corn. 
It was finely worked and was important for the fusion of elements, more accentuated than what is seen in the figure of Isis-Fortuna in Pompeian paintings. 
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 393, fig. 2.

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.

A silver statuette of Isis-Fortuna, 0.13m tall with the small hexagonal pedestal also of silver.

On her head, she has a modius (cylindrical headdress), a crescent moon and a lotus flower.

With the right hand, she held up a rudder and on the left wrist was a bucket and some corn.

It was finely worked and was important for the fusion of elements, more accentuated than what is seen in the figure of Isis-Fortuna in Pompeian paintings.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 393, fig. 2.

 

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.
A silver statue of Venus Anadyomene, 0.95 tall with the base.
She was crowned with a diadem, standing naked, and nearby was a dove. 
It was very well shaped and the dove was portrayed with ease and precision. 
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 393, fig. 3.

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.

A silver statue of Venus Anadyomene, 0.95 tall with the base.

She was crowned with a diadem, standing naked, and nearby was a dove.

It was very well shaped and the dove was portrayed with ease and precision.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 393, fig. 3.

 

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.
A silver serpent raising itself on its coils, with base.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 394, fig. 4.

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.

A silver serpent raising itself on its coils, with base.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 394, fig. 4.

 

The preservation of these three items was surprising, taking account the material, which was silver, usually to be found oxidized, greatest in the locality of discovery, where the earth does not exceed 6 metres in height. 

No doubt they formed the collection from a lararium.

 

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.
Fig.5: Also found was a silver half-moon, accentuated by that which was seen in the figure of Isis-Fortuna of Pompeian paintings, but not well-preserved.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 394, fig. 5.

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.

Fig.5: Also found was a silver half-moon, accentuated by that which was seen in the figure of Isis-Fortuna of Pompeian paintings, but not well-preserved.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 394, fig. 5.

 

Also found in bronze were -

a rectangular seal/signet, with the wording CN DOMITI in raised letters:

And on the bezel of the ring was AVCTI:

 

According to Carrington, his cognomen indicates that Cn. Domitius Auctus, if not himself a libertus, was probably the son of one. 

 

Not many Domitii have been found in Pompeii, and in the only other cases (two in number) in which the praenomen is preserved, it is Lucius.

The gens may, however, have been represented by two families, the Lucii and the Gnaei Domitii, or, as at Rome, the praenomina, Lucius and Gnaeus, may have alternated in succeeding generations of the same family.

 

One member, at any rate, of a Pompeian branch of the gens can be connected with the wine trade, though the precise form which the connection took is doubtful.

This is a woman, named Domitia Modesta, whose name occurs on an amphora. C.I.L. IV, 5818.

 

According to Epigraphik-Datenbank Clauss/Slaby (See www.manfredclauss.de) this reads

 

Pompeis

PX T VII

PL XXXII

Domitiae Modestae      [CIL IV 5818]

 

See Carrington, R., 1931. Studies in the Campanian Villae Rusticae: Journal of Roman Studies, 21, p. 112-3.

See Duff, A. M., 1928, Freedmen in the Early Roman Empire, Oxford: O.U.P., p. 110.

 

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.
A small bronze bull, wonderfully conserved, resting on a rectangular base worked with engraving. It was 0.17m high, from the floor of the base to the top of the head.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 395, fig. 6.

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.

A small bronze bull, wonderfully conserved, resting on a rectangular base worked with engraving. It was 0.17m high, from the floor of the base to the top of the head.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 395, fig. 6.

 

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.
A bronze candelabra, finely worked, inlaid with silver in the goblet and in the plate above, as well as in the circular base
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 396, fig. 7.

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 18th March 1899. Room “D”.

A bronze candelabra, finely worked, inlaid with silver in the goblet and in the plate above, as well as in the circular base

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 396, fig. 7.

 

Also found in bronze were:

A small head of a ram, a plate, a handle of a simply-made pot, two other handles with masks, several fragments of locks and hinges, three hair-pins and a tweezers.

 

In bone: Small utensils.

In glass: Several perfume bottles and small pots.

In terracotta: Three small amphorae and other small objects.

 

Towards the entrance doorway of the same room “D”, were then found on the 20th March:

In bronze: Two clasps, two pendants and tweezers. 

In glass-paste: Thirty-two spherical beads for a necklace. 

 

Found on 21st of the same month:

In bronze: A small funnel.

In iron: Two short two-edged swords, of which the one had the grip covered with ivory.

In terracotta: A large lamp and a small handled pot.

 

And finally found on the 22nd, were:

 

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 22nd March 1899. Room “D”.
Bronze virile bust, 0.09m tall, well preserved and well-modelled used by the Romans as a steel-yard. 
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 397, fig. 8.

 

Scafati, Villa rustica detta di Domitius Auctus. 22nd March 1899. Room “D”.

Bronze virile bust, 0.09m tall, well preserved and well-modelled used by the Romans as a steel-yard.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 397, fig. 8.

 

In bronze: A colander; a large lamp; a bucket and a jar.

In glass: Two bottles.

In marble: A mortar with its pestle.

In terracotta: Several small pots, eleven large amphorae and some smaller, between which one had the following epigraph in black letters:

 

A jug/jar, broken at the neck, with the inscription written in black:

Torcularium “E”

In the corner, between the west and north porticoes and on the other side to room “D”, was situated the torcularium (press). It was the type now well-known (see Notizie degli Scavi, 1897, p.398 and following), and where on the 11th April were found -

In iron: three hoes, two rakes, two gaffs, two broken saws and two hooks.

Corridor “F”

Under the north portico was the fauces/corridor “F”, in which were the doorways to rooms “G” and “H”, both cubicula.

Cubiculum “G”

This cubiculum was simple and rustic. In it were found on the 12th, 13th and 14th April 1899 –

In bronze: A basin with two handles, a jar with a handle, another spherical jar and three corroded coins.

In iron: Two points of spears, a short two-edged sword, a bricklayer’s stake, a trowel, a hammer, three chisels of varying shapes, a carpenter’s axe, a hoe and other utensils in fragments. 

In glass-paste: A small phallus.

In lead: Two supposed weights.

In terracotta: A cooking pot with a handle and three amphorae with inscriptions:

 

Damaged and broken in the neck and handle; in white letters:

 

In black letters.

In the first line is certainly to be read TAVR(omenitanum).

 

Fragment: In black letters.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p.396.

Cubiculum “H”

The cubiculum was decorated with yellow and purple panels.

 

The remaining rustic areas "I, L, M and N" showed nothing of interest.

Room “L”

In this room were found from 17th to 30th April, two human skeletons and the following items:

In bronze: A two-handled basin and a boiler.

In iron: A grating.

In terracotta: A fragmented plate and two jugs.

Room “M”

Found in this room on the 26th April were -

In bronze: A poorly preserved boiler.

In terracotta: Two amphorae

In lava: A small mill.

Organic material: A dog’s skull.

 

In a corner, adjacent to the eastern wall of the room "M", and that wall to the north of another belonging to room "N", the oven 'b' and the hearth ‘c’ were located.

Found near the oven on the 27th April were –

In iron: The closure door of the oven and a shovel for putting bread into the oven.

In terracotta:  A lamp.

Latrine “O”

A little distance from the oven, the latrine was situated, towards which several amphorae were found huddled against the wall, including eight with inscriptions.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1899, p. 397-8.

Farmyard/Threshing room “P”

In this room, it seemed one could recognise a threshing floor.

Tiles found in the excavation carried these known stamps -