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Herculaneum VI.1. Thermae Centrali or Central Baths, linked to VI.7, VI.8 and VI.10.

Fully excavated 1931-32.

 

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Maiuri wrote (in c.1936) that this building may be attributed to the early Augustan period (30-10 BC); the decoration is of a later date of the time of either Claudius or Nero. During the 1860-75 excavations, only the palaestra and the shops on the western side were disinterred; the recent explorations have completed the work and the Thermae are thus the first public edifice of Herculaneum to have reappeared in its entirety, whilst excavations are still in course in the Palaestra and in the Suburban Baths.

There are four distinct entrances one on Cardo III (VI.1) the real main entrance to the men’s baths, and three on Cardo IV, that is one at VI.7 which leads to the palaestra and across that to the men’s baths, one at VI.8 leading exclusively to the women’s section, and another at VI.10, a service door leading to the praefurnium (boiler/furnace), and to other parts of the water-supply plant.

See Maiuri, Amedeo, (1977). Herculaneum. 7th English ed, of Guide books to the Museums Galleries and Monuments of Italy, No.53 (p.36).

 

Entrance

 

Ins VI,1 Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking north-east to entrances.

VI,1 Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking north-east to entrances.

 

VI, Herculaneum, September 2015. Doorway to VI. 31 the latrine on north side of VI.1.

VI, Herculaneum, September 2015.

Doorway to VI. 31 the latrine on north side of VI.1.

Maiuri wrote that the entrance corridor, on right, was flanked by a half-destroyed latrine, and by a tiny rectangular room with a small square window, probably that of the door-keeper of the men’s section.

 

VI.1 Herculaneum, October 2014. Looking east to entrance, on right. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

VI.1 Herculaneum, October 2014. Looking east to entrance, on right. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

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VI,1 Herculaneum, May 2010.

East side of Cardo III Superiore, looking east to doorway VI.31 to latrine, on left, and corridor to central baths, VI.1 on right.

 

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VI,1 Herculaneum, May 2010. Doorways to latrine, VI.31 on left, and baths, VI.1/7 on right.

 

VI,1 Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking east through entrance doorway into corridor leading to the portico of the palaestra of the baths. On the left side of the doorway, at the end of the corridor, is the doorway into the dressing room (apodyterium). The white marble doorway threshold can be seen.

VI,1 Herculaneum, September 2015.

Looking east through entrance doorway into corridor leading to the portico of the palaestra of the baths.

On the left side of the doorway, at the end of the corridor, is the doorway into the dressing room (apodyterium).

The white marble doorway threshold can be seen.

 

Palaestra

 

VI.1/7. May 2010. Looking east along north wall of portico of palaestra. According to Maiuri, the portico of the palaestra would also have served as a rest room where the clients of the Baths awaited their turn.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010. Looking east along north wall of portico of palaestra.

According to Maiuri, the portico of the palaestra would also have served as a rest room where the clients of the Baths awaited their turn.

 

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VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010. Exterior apse of hot room, caldarium.

 

Ins. VI.1/7. May 2010. Looking west along north wall of portico.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010. Looking west along north wall of portico.

 

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. October 2014. Looking south-east across palaestra from near entrance at Ins. VI.1.  Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. October 2014. Looking south-east across palaestra from near entrance at Ins. VI.1.

Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

Ins. VI.1/7. May 2010. Looking south-east across palaestra from near entrance at Ins. VI.1.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010. Looking south-east across palaestra from near entrance at Ins. VI.1.

 

VI.1/7, Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking towards north-west corner of columned portico of palaestra.  The doorway into the dressing room (apodyterium) can be seen, centre right.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking towards north-west corner of columned portico of palaestra.

The doorway into the dressing room (apodyterium) can be seen, centre right.

 

Apodyterium

 

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Looking north across changing room of men’s baths. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.
According to Maiuri this was a large room, the best preserved in the men’s section.
Two glass cases in the centre of the room contain the remains of the two skeletons found under the mud-flow on this spot, the first victims discovered in the area of the new excavations; they were probably the custodians of the Thermae who had descended from the upper floor in order to take vain refuge under the robust vault of the tepidarium, when they were submerged under the tide of mud. 
See Maiuri, Amedeo, (1977). Herculaneum. 7th English ed, of Guide books to the Museums Galleries and Monuments of Italy, No.53 (p.37).
(Note: the first edition of this guide book was produced in around 1936, 9 years after the start of the “new excavations”).

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Looking north across changing room of men’s baths.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

According to Maiuri this was a large room, the best preserved in the men’s section.

Two glass cases in the centre of the room contain the remains of the two skeletons found under the mud-flow on this spot, the first victims discovered in the area of the new excavations; they were probably the custodians of the Thermae who had descended from the upper floor in order to take vain refuge under the robust vault of the tepidarium, when they were submerged under the tide of mud.

See Maiuri, Amedeo, (1977). Herculaneum. 7th English ed, of Guide books to the Museums Galleries and Monuments of Italy, No.53 (p.37).

(Note: the first edition of this guide book was produced in around 1936, 9 years after the start of the “new excavations”).

 

According to Deiss, in this room were found two skeletons – a man and a woman. They might have been custodians. In any case they did not flee, thinking they would be safe under the massive thickness of the vault. But they reckoned without the rising mud. Indeed, the vault remains, and so do they.

See Deiss, J.J. 1968. Herculaneum: a city returns to the sun. UK, The History Book Club, (p.114)

 

Ins. VI.1/7. May 2010. Changing/dressing room, or apodyterium of the men’s baths. 
Looking north from entrance doorway across floor of segmented black, grey and white marble.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010. Changing/dressing room, or apodyterium of the men’s baths.

Looking north from entrance doorway across floor of segmented black, grey and white marble.

 

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VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010. Floor of dressing room or apodyterium.

 

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Detail of floor in opus segmentatum in black, grey and white marble. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Detail of floor in opus segmentatum in black, grey and white marble.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

VI.1/7. May 2010. Stucco vaulted ceiling of dressing room or apodyterium.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010. Stuccoed vaulted ceiling of dressing room or apodyterium.

 

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Detail of strigilated stucco vaulted ceiling in apodyterium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Detail of strigilated stucco vaulted ceiling in apodyterium. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Detail of ceiling stucco, from upper part of wall.
Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Detail of ceiling stucco, from upper part of wall. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

VI.1/7. May 2010. Looking north along west wall in dressing room or apodyterium.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010. Looking north along west wall in dressing room or apodyterium.

 

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Looking south along west wall towards entrance doorway. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Looking south along west wall towards entrance doorway.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

VI.1, Herculaneum. October 2014. Looking towards south wall, with window and doorway. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

VI.1, Herculaneum. October 2014. Looking towards south wall, with window and doorway. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. North wall of apodyterium with cipollino marble basin (labrum) in an apse. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.
According to Maiuri, there was another basin in the corner, both of these were used for the washing of hands and feet before entering the frigidarium or tepidarium.
See Maiuri, A. (1977). Herculaneum, No. 53 of the series of guide-books to the museums, galleries and monuments of Italy, (p.37)

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. North wall of apodyterium with cipollino marble basin (labrum) in an apse.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

According to Maiuri, there was another basin in the corner, both of these were used for the washing of hands and feet before entering the frigidarium or tepidarium.

See Maiuri, A. (1977). Herculaneum, No. 53 of the series of guide-books to the museums, galleries and monuments of Italy, (p.37)

 

VI.1, Herculaneum. October 2014. North wall of apodyterium with cipollino marble basin (labrum) in an apse. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

VI.1, Herculaneum. October 2014. North wall of apodyterium with cipollino marble basin (labrum) in an apse.

Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

VI.1/7. May 2010. Marble basin in apse at north end of apodyterium.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010. Marble basin in apse at north end of apodyterium.

 

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. Looking south along east wall of apodyterium with remains of a simple red dado. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee. 
Around three sides of the room was a plain podium for the seats, and the shelves with separate recesses for clothes and bath linen.

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013.

Looking south along east wall of apodyterium with remains of a simple red dado.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

Around three sides of the room there is a plain podium for the seats, and the shelves with separate recesses for clothes and bath linen.

 

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013. East wall with bench with remains of red dado above, and above that the shelving recesses for the storage of clothing and bath linen. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.1, Herculaneum. August 2013.

East wall with bench with remains of red dado above, and above that the shelving recesses for the storage of clothing and bath linen.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

VI.1/7. May 2010. East wall.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010. East wall.

 

VI.1/7. May 2010. Looking towards south-east corner, with shelving for clothing and articles and bench below.

VI.1/7, Herculaneum. May 2010.

Looking towards south-east corner, with shelving for clothing and articles and bench below.

 

 

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Plan