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House of the Skeleton

Description of the House (Ins III, 3)

Across Cardo III from the House of the Genius is the House of the Skeleton. This building, probably the aggregation of three smaller buildings, derives its name from the discovery of human remains in a second floor room in 1831.
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This was the first body to be found in the town which had assumed to have been abandoned when the eruption began. Further human remains have since come to light in several buildings in the town and especially down by the waterfront in the boathouses where dozens of skeletons were found.
Today only the ground floor of this two storey building still remains.
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At the rear of the atrium, to the right of the tablinum, a passageway leads through to a large triclinium (g) (pictured below and lower right). The walls of the triclinium are decorated in the third style in reds and orange with illusionary architecture and views of distant landscapes all above a lower red decorative frieze. On the north wall is an large apsidal alcove while the floor is paved in opus sectile. The room is lit be a large window in its west wall which it shares with the adjoining tablinum.
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A passageway in the centre of the south side of the atrium gives access off its east side to a small hall lit by a light well (i) (pictured opposite). Beyond the hall are two reasonably sized cubicula (j and l) situated around a further light well (k).
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Cubiculum (j) (pictured opposite) is decorated in the third style with red panels on a black ground above a lower black frieze. The floor is raised along its west side. Cubiculum (l) (pictured above) is lit by way of the light well through a low window on its south wall. The room is also decorated in the third style with black framed panels above a lower black frieze.
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The fauces (a) off Cardo III, which is paved in a black and white mosaic (pictured above), leads onto a reasonably sized atrium (b) (shown upper left), which is without the usual impluvium. On the east side of the atrium is the tablinum (c) which appears to have been reduced in size in the remodelling of the house.

On the north side of the atrium there is a small hall (d) which gives access on its left to an oecus (e) and on its right to a nymphaeum (f) with a masonry biclinia. The nymphaeum consists of two rectangular basins with a decorative rear wall (pictured left) in inlaid limestone. Above the nymphaeum is a decorative frieze composed of seven panels, of which only three originals remain (one of which is pictured below), the central three being modern copies.
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The south wall of the triclinium has a broad opening overlooking a small courtyard (h) which contains a mosaic lararium (pictured left). High on the wall above the lararium is a tablet depicting a winged figure (pictured lower left).
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