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House of the Alcove

Description of the House (Ins IV, 3-4)

Immediately north of the House of the Mosaic Atrium on Cardo IV is the House of the Alcove. This house is actually two buildings joined together, connected by the stepped entrance between the courts (b) and (g) as shown is the house plan opposite. As a consequence of this, the house is a mixture of plain and simple rooms combined with some highly decorative ones.

Next to the entrance at No. 4 is a flight of stairs to the upper floor (at No.3). Both entrances are visible, side by side, in the centre of the photograph below.
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From the right hand side of the first court (b), two steps lead down to a third court (g) which has no remaining decoration. On the west side of this court (pictured right) are two rooms, the first of which has a round marble table set below two small windows. Adjoining this room to the south is the biclinium (h) (pictured below).

The room
has traces of fine third style decoration especially on the upper part of the walls. The decoration consists of architectural views on a red ground. In the north west corner of the room are the bases of two couches. The room is lit by two windows with wooden frames and iron bars still in situ.

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The 'L' shaped corridor leads to two remote rooms which are preceded by a light well (j) (pictured opposite). The first of the two rooms (k) (pictured below) is plainly decorated in the third style with large white panels framed in red on a white ground above a lower white compartmentalized frieze.
The room is lit by a window high on its south wall. A door at the south end of the west wall leads to room (l).

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From the entrance on Cardo IV, the fauces (a) (pictured above) leads directly to a small court (b) with rooms off. On either side of the fauces are a pair of service rooms (c and d).
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The small entrance court (pictured left), which is colonnaded on its east side, retains some of its fourth style decoration, especially on its northern wall (pictured below and lower left). The fresco decoration consists of architectural motifs, including a pedimented portal, on a red ground.
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Continuing along the axis of the entrance corridor is a second, larger court (e) which gives access to a suite of rooms including cubiculum (f) which has traces of fine third style decoration (pictured below and lower left). The decoration consists of architectural views on a blue ground above a lower red frieze.
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Opposite the biclinium, a long corridor (i) opens off the south east corner of the court. The corridor is devoid of decoration but retains a fine white mosaic floor with black insets edged by a double black border (visible in the picture below).
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Room (l) is decorated in a similar manner to the preceding room but the decoration is slightly more elaborate with perspective and architectural views (pictured below).
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In the south wall of the room is the semi-circular alcove after which the house was named. In the middle of the alcove is a square window providing light to the room. The gray floor is ornamented by irregular coloured marble insets.




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