The Pompeii Artifact Life History Project - Characterizing and Comparing Three Residential Artifact Assemblages

Lecture | January 22 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 2251 College (Archaeological Research Facility)

 J. Theodore Peña, Department of Classics, UC Berkeley

 Archaeological Research Facility

The Pompeii Artifact Life History Project (PALHIP) is a long-term UC Berkeley Classics research project designed to shed light on various aspects of the life history of portable artifacts in the Roman town of Pompeii and selected sites in its environs. Towards this end it performs the detailed characterization of sets of artifacts recovered in contexts particularly informative with regard to various aspects of artifact life history that have been recovered in excavations carried out in the past by other projects. PALHIP completed a first five-year research cycle during the years 2012-2016, reporting the results obtained in the ARF brown bag series. This talk reports on the results obtained in the field seasons carried out in 2018 and 2019 - the first two years of a second five-year research cycle. In this second research cycle the project is focusing on the characterization of the artifact assemblages recovered in a set of eight small to medium-sized residences that occupy the bulk of Insula I.17 - a block near the center of Pompeii that was excavated in the 1950s and 1960s – with a view to documenting patterns in artifact acquisition and use among residential groups that occupied the lower levels of the town’s socio-economic order. During these two field seasons the project completed the characterization of the assemblages from two of these residences – the so-called Casa Imperiale and Casa di Lucius Habonius Primus - documenting various kinds of use alterations that provide evidence regarding the use and curation of a wide array of artifacts. The assemblage data from these two residences can be compared with each other and with assemblage data from the Villa Regina a Boscoreale - a modest farmhouse 1.2 km outside the town – that were collected during the first research cycle with a view to gaining insights into variability within and between assemblages associated with low-status town and rural residential groups.