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Herculaneum VI.12. Shop of a plumbarius (metal worker, welder or blacksmith).

Excavated 1961-62.

 

Part 1   Part 2

 

According to Wallace-Hadrill, this shop had a rear room and stairs to an upper floor, but with no decorations.

See Wallace-Hadrill, A., 1994. Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum. New Jersey: Princeton U.P. (p.206)

 

Guidobaldi wrote that, at the moment of the eruption, this shop which was originally part of the Casa del Salone Nero, functioned as a metallurgist’s workshop.  In the shop, which has a long bench/counter along the front, were found the melting crucible, some terracotta pots used for cooling of pieces of forgings, and some elements of charred wood which likely served to feed the flame of the crucible, and iron tools.  They also recovered lead ingots, pieces of pipe, limestone weights in which one would have had to solder the iron handle, a bronze candelabrum with marble base, and a bronze statuette of Bacchus with decoration of gold, silver and copper, all in the course of being repaired.

(Note: according to Pesando & Guidobaldi, (2006), one day, these representative objects will be on display in the Antiquarium.)

(Note: Now in 2018. Some of these items are on display in the shop, see photos below).

See Guidobaldi, M.P, 2009: Ercolano, guida agli scavi. Naples, Electa Napoli, (p.103).

See Pesando, F. and Guidobaldi, M.P. (2006). Pompei, Oplontis, Ercolano, Stabiae. Editori Laterza, (p.362-3).

 

In September 1961, Maiuri wrote –

“I found the assistant Fusco beaming on the door of a shop on the corner of the Fountain of Venus: this time the Cavamonti (tunnellers) had not cheated him of his most beautiful prey. It was the workshop of a bronze-worker, more exactly of a welder and adjuster of broken bronzes: and we found inside a delightful statuette of Dionysus and a bronze chandelier both needing restoration: to re-solder the base at the feet of the statue and to re-attach an arm of the chandelier to the shaft: and also ready for use were the lead ingots, the hearth and the melting crucible. A simple operation but one that our good Plumbarius did not have time to carry out, so statuette and chandelier had not been returned to their rightful owner, some of the wealthy owners of the houses and suburban villas of Herculaneum.”

(translated from -

“Ho trovato l’assistente Fusco raggiante sulla porta d’una bottega all’angolo della Fontana di Venere: questa volta i cavamonti non lo avevano defraudato della sua piu bella preda. Era l’officina di un bronzista, piu esattamente di un saldatore e aggiustatore di bronzi rotti: e vi abbiamo trovato all’interno una deliziosa statuetta di Dioniso e un lampadario in bronzo bisognosi l’uno e l’altro di restauro: rinsaldare la base ai piedi della statua e riappiccicare un braccio del lampadario al fusto: e c’erano per la bisogna pronti i lingotti di piombo e la fornacetta e il crogiuolo di fusione. Un operazione semplice ma che il nostro bravo plumbarius non aveva avuto il tempo di portare a termine, sicche statuetta e lampadario non erano stati riconsegnati al loro legittimo proprietario, qualcuno certo dei ricchi signori delle case e ville suburbane di Ercolano.”)

See Maiuri, A.(2008). Cronache degli scavi di Ercolano, 1927-1961. (p.119).

 

Ins. VI 12, Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking south to entrance doorway.

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking south to entrance doorway.

 

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VI.12 Herculaneum, October 2014. Looking south towards entrance doorway. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum, February 2007. Detail of counter. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

VI.12 Herculaneum, February 2007. Detail of counter, looking south. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. February 2007. Detail of south side of counter, looking north. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

VI.12 Herculaneum. February 2007. Detail of south side of counter, looking north. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. October 2004. Looking  south-west across shop-room. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

VI.12 Herculaneum. October 2004. Looking  south-west across shop-room. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. May 2018. Maiuri Pop-Up notice on front of shop. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.12 Herculaneum. May 2018. Maiuri Pop-Up notice on front of shop. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. May 2018. Notice from front of shop.
“This year we celebrate the 90th anniversary since archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri began excavating Herculaneum.
Excavations reached this area in 1961, after which the finds were exhibited in this Roman metalworker’s workshop.
Work on this new exhibit is still underway. In addition to the objects already in place, copies of a bronze statue of Bacchus and a candelabra will be added in the coming months.”
Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee. 
(translation –
“Quest’anno stiamo celebrando il 90 anniversario dall avvio dello scavo dell’antica Ercolano da parte dell’archeologo Amedeo Maiuri. Gli scavi hanno raggiunto quest’area nel 1961; i reperti qui rinvenuti furono esposti proprio nel luogo del ritrovamento, un antico laboratorio di lavorazione e riparazione di oggetti in metallo romano.
L’allestimento per questa nuova mostra e ancora in corso. 
Oltri agli oggetti gia esposti, nel prossimi mesi si aggiungeranno copie della statua di bronzo raffigurante il dio Bacco e del candelabra.”).

VI.12 Herculaneum. May 2018. Maiuri Pop-Up notice from front of shop.

“This year we celebrate the 90th anniversary since archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri began excavating Herculaneum.

Excavations reached this area in 1961, after which the finds were exhibited in this Roman metalworker’s workshop.

Work on this new exhibit is still underway. In addition to the objects already in place, copies of a bronze statue of Bacchus and a candelabra will be added in the coming months.”

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

(translation –

“Quest’anno stiamo celebrando il 90 anniversario dall avvio dello scavo dell’antica Ercolano da parte dell’archeologo Amedeo Maiuri. Gli scavi hanno raggiunto quest’area nel 1961; i reperti qui rinvenuti furono esposti proprio nel luogo del ritrovamento, un antico laboratorio di lavorazione e riparazione di oggetti in metallo romano.

L’allestimento per questa nuova mostra e ancora in corso.

Oltri agli oggetti gia esposti, nel prossimi mesi si aggiungeranno copie della statua di bronzo raffigurante il dio Bacco e del candelabra.”).

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. May 2018. 
Reproduction bronze candelabrum with marble base, found awaiting repair in this metal worker’s workshop.
Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.12 Herculaneum. May 2018.

Reproduction bronze candelabrum with marble base, found awaiting repair in this metal worker’s workshop.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

VI.12 Herculaneum. May 2018. Detail of bronze candelabrum. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. May 2018. 
Reproduction bronze statuette of Bacchus with decoration of gold, silver and copper, also awaiting repair in this metal worker’s workshop. 
At the rear displayed on the steps are terracotta pots, and limestone weights. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.12 Herculaneum. May 2018.

Reproduction bronze statuette of Bacchus with decoration of gold, silver and copper, also awaiting repair in this metal worker’s workshop.

At the rear displayed on the steps are terracotta pots, and limestone weights. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

 

VI.12 Herculaneum, on left. September 2015. Looking west along north side of insula VI, on Decumanus Maximus.  Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

VI.12 Herculaneum, on left. September 2015. Looking west along north side of insula VI, on Decumanus Maximus.

Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

VI.12 Herculaneum, on left. May 2001. Looking west along north side of insula, on Decumanus Maximus.  Photo courtesy of Current Archaeology.

VI.12 Herculaneum, on left. May 2001. Looking west along north side of insula, on Decumanus Maximus.

Photo courtesy of Current Archaeology.

 

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking towards east end of south side of shop.

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking towards east end of south side of shop.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. October 2004. 
Looking towards stairs to upper floor in south-east corner of shop-room. 
Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

VI.12 Herculaneum. October 2004.

Looking towards stairs to upper floor in south-east corner of shop-room.

Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. Not dated. Detail of stairs to upper floor.  Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

VI.12 Herculaneum. Not dated. Detail of stairs to upper floor.

Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. September 2003. Upper floor room, looking north-east above Decumanus Maximus. 
Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

VI.12 Herculaneum. September 2003. Upper floor room, looking north-east above Decumanus Maximus.

Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking towards east wall and south-east across counter towards rear-room.

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking towards east wall and south-east across counter towards rear-room.

 

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking towards south-east corner of shop-room and rear-room.

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. Looking towards south-east corner of shop-room and rear-room.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. Not dated. Detail of rear of steps. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

VI.12 Herculaneum. Not dated. Detail of rear of steps. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. 
Looking towards south wall of shop-room, with niche/recess and blocked doorway to atrium of VI.13.

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015.

Looking towards south wall of shop-room, with niche/recess and blocked doorway to atrium of VI.13.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. Not dated. East end of south wall of shop-room, showing steps and corner. 
Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

VI.12 Herculaneum. Not dated. East end of south wall of shop-room, showing steps and corner.

Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. Niche/recess in south wall.

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. Niche/recess in south wall.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. February 2007. Blocked doorway in south wall of shop-room. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

VI.12 Herculaneum. February 2007. Blocked doorway in south wall of shop-room. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum, February 2007. Detail of blocked door in south wall.  
Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

VI.12 Herculaneum, February 2007. Detail of blocked door in south wall.  

Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI.12 Herculaneum, February 2007. Detail of blocked door in south wall.  

Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. West wall, against which is the still partly preserved shelving for storage or amphorae.

VI.12 Herculaneum, September 2015. West wall, against which is the still partly preserved shelving for storage or amphorae.

 

VI.12, Herculaneum. February 2007. Detail of shelving for amphorae or storage. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

VI.12 Herculaneum. February 2007. Detail of shelving for amphorae or storage. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Monteix.

 

VI 12, Herculaneum, August 2013. North-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12. Looking north. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.  See also Ins. V.9.

VI.12 Herculaneum, August 2013. North-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12.

Looking north to pilaster of water-tower. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.  See also Ins. V.9.

 

VI 12, Herculaneum, August 2013. Remains of painted serpent on street shrine on north-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12. Looking west. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.  See also Ins. V.9.

VI.12 Herculaneum, August 2013.

Remains of painted serpent on street shrine on north-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12.

Looking west. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.  See also Ins. V.9.

 

VI 12, Herculaneum, August 2013. Painted graffiti on pilaster at north-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.  This shows the remains of a painted edict on behalf of two local aediles, M. Rufellius Robia and A. Tetteius, to prohibit the dumping of dirt and excrement near to the water tower, to prevent the pollution of the water supply.

VI.12 Herculaneum, August 2013. Painted graffiti on pilaster of water-tower at north-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee. 

This shows the remains of a painted edict on behalf of two local aediles, M. Rufellius Robia and A. Tetteius, to prohibit the dumping of dirt and excrement near to the water tower, to prevent the pollution of the water supply.

 

VI 12, Herculaneum, August 2013. Graffiti on north-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12. Looking west. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.12 Herculaneum, August 2013.

Graffiti on pilaster at north-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12.

Looking west. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee. 

 

VI 12, Herculaneum, August 2013. Detail of graffiti on pilaster at north-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12. Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.12 Herculaneum, August 2013.

Detail of graffiti on pilaster at north-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee. 

 

VI 12, Herculaneum, August 2013. Detail of graffiti on north-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12.  Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee.

VI.12 Herculaneum, August 2013.

Detail of graffiti on pilaster at north-east corner of Insula VI, adjacent to the shop at VI.12.

Photo courtesy of Buzz Ferebee. 

 

 

Part 1   Part 2