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Herculaneum‎ > ‎Insula VI‎ > ‎

House of the Double Atrium

Description of the House (Ins VI, 29)

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There are two small windows in the ground floor facade, one of which still has its original ironwork frame. Over the entrance there is a terra-cotta Gorgon mask (pictured opposite and below) to ward off the evil eye.
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The house has an unusual layout, possibly due to constrictions of the plot available. The fauces (a), which has lost all trace of its decoration, opens onto the first of two atria (b), (pictured lower right), whose roof was supported by four brick columns. The atrium has a central impluvium with rooms off its east and west sides only.

Little of the atrium's decoration has survived, with only a few plaster remnants on the east and west walls to define the original third style decoration, which appears to have consisted of red and white panels with decorative borders.
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The kitchen (c) is located off the south west corner of the atrium. The kitchen had an 'L' shaped work surface
on which was placed a small oven. In the south west corner, next to  the work surface, was a latrine. The archive photo below shows the kitchen with a dolium next to the work surface for the provision of water. The kitchen was lit by a small square window in its west wall.
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The decoration (pictured opposite) is in the third style consisting of red panels with decorative borders above a lower frieze in white with floral decorations in red and green. The upper zone is composed of a geometric design in red on a white ground.
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The tablinum opens onto the second atrium to the east (pictured opposite). The second atrium has a central impluvium
and also acted as a garden and a source of light for the upper floor, which extended the length of the house. On the walls of the atrium are some plaster remnants which suggest that the decoration consisted of a red central zone topped by a white upper zone. On the south wall of the atrium are two temple style lararia (pictured below). These were originally painted in shades of red and blue.
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The House of the Double Atrium is situated on the east side of Cardo III, at the midway point of Insula VI. The house has an imposing entrance set in an attractive facade, pictured below, almost entirely composed of opus reticulatum.
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On the east side of the atrium is the tablinum (d) (in the centre of the picture above). The tablinum opens directly onto both atria and has a small window in its north wall providing light to the adjacent room.
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On the north side of the atrium is a small oecus (f). The wall painting is well preserved except for the lower parts of the north and east walls. The third style decoration (pictured below) consists of central pavilions framing perspective views of fantastic architecture on a blue ground. Either side of the pavilions are red and yellow panels with decorative borders.
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The lower frieze is in red-purple decorated with diamonds divided by panels with elegant borders and garlands. The upper zone consists of perspective architecture and wildlife on a white ground. The room is lit by a large window on its south wall.
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The triclinium (g) (pictured above) opens off the east side of the second atrium. This is a large room, with a low doorway on its north wall that connects to a cubiculum and anteroom. The remaining decoration, particularly on the north wall, is in the late third style with red panels with decorative borders above a lower red frieze. The panels contain small scenes, including that of a still life with pears and crossed fishes (pictured opposite).


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