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Herculaneum‎ > ‎Insula V‎ > ‎

House of the Wooden Sacellum

Description of the House (Ins V, 31)

Immediately north of the House of the Great Portal on Cardo IV is the House of the Wooden Sacellum, named after a an artifact found in the house. The object consisted of a temple style sacellum on top of a base cabinet (pictured lower right).  The upper sacellum held statuettes of the owner's household gods, while the lower cabinet contained a trove of everyday objects - perfume bottles, buttons, even a dish of garlic.
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In the centre of the west wall is the tablinum (e) (visible in the photographs above and below). The layout of the front of the house is fairly standard with the fauces opening onto the atrium and tablinum. However the area behind the tablinum is less traditional, the result of an alteration to the rear of the house. Nevertheless in this part of the house there is a coherence both in the layout and the decoration.
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The fauces (a) (pictured left) which opens off the west side of Cardo IV leads to a square atrium (b) (pictured left and lower left) with a central impluvium and two flights of stairs up. The stairs led to two separate upper floors, one above the rooms on the street and one above the rooms behind the atrium. In the later area there was a cenaculum or upstairs dining room.

The atrium has rooms off only its east and west sides. Like many houses in Herculaneum the House of the Wooden Sacellum was penetrated by the Bourbon tunnels - a recent repair of the damage caused by one such tunnel is visible in the atrium wall (pictured below).

The service room (c) has a niche under the stairs and is plainly decorated. The room (d) on the opposite side of the fauces is a cubiculum with simple decoration and a partly vaulted ceiling.
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The decoration is quite simple everywhere except for the large oecus (f) and the room located above rooms (h) and (i). Both these rooms exhibit a more elaborate panel decoration. Elsewhere in the house the walls are plainly plastered, or simply decorated with panels in red, white or black all of which are in the first or third style.

The central corridor (g) served to illuminate and ventilate the ground and first floor. Under the stairs in the small storeroom off oecus (f) was found a quantity of amphorae.




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