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Garum Workshop

Description of the Property (Reg I, Ins 12, 8)

The Garum Workshop was concerned with the distribution rather than the production of garum, a fish sauce which was a staple of Roman cuisine and could be used as a condiment with almost anything. Garum was made by the crushing and fermentation in brine of the intestines of fish such as eel, tuna, anchovies and mackerel. The sauce was stored in bulk in the workshop and decanted into smaller vessels for sale.

The workshop lies on the Via di Castricio immediately west of its junction with the Vicolo dei Fuggiaschi. The property was first excavated in 1958 and again in 1960 and 1961.
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The north wall of the peristyle (pictured above with a enlarged detail right) was decorated with large garden paintings framed in red on either side of the doorway to the rear garden. In the north west corner (g) were found six dolia, five of which are still in situ. When found the dolia contained the remains of the fish sauce, the smell of which was still noticeable.
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On the same side of the peristyle as the kitchen is a small cubiculum (i), the entrance to which is pictured opposite. The vaulted room is decorated in the third style with large red panels above a lower black frieze.
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The central panel on each wall, set in an architectural frame, featured a pastoral scene on a white ground (pictured above and opposite); the scenes are now very faded and have lost much of their detail. Above a painted cornice, the upper zone consists of fantastic architecture on a white ground. The room was lit by a small window high in its east wall.

The doorway in the centre of the north wall of the peristyle opens onto the rear garden area (j) (pictured below). The 'L' shaped courtyard was used as a storage area, at least in part. Certainly a large number of amphorae were found here.
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The plain entrance (a) (pictured left) opens off the north side of the Via di Castricio onto a square room (b) (pictured lower left). This section of the workshop is in a fairly ruinous state with only a few faded plaster remnants.
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Room (b) is lit by a small window on its south wall. Opening off the east side of this room is room (c) which is approximately of the same size and is in an equally distressed state (pictured above). On the north wall of this room is a small arched niche while on its south wall is a square window overlooking the Via di Castricio.

A doorway on the north side of entrance room (b) opens onto another semi-ruinous room (d) which in turn opens onto the south portico of peristyle (f) (pictured opposite). The peristyle appears to have been colonnaded on only its south side with stuccoed brickwork columns supporting the inner margins of the roof.
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During the excavation of the peristyle garden the cavities formed by the roots of two large fig trees were exposed. The peristyle garden (pictured opposite, looking south) was later replanted with two olive trees.
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Opening off the south west corner of the peristyle is a small kitchen (h). Facing the entrance, in the north west corner of the room, is a well preserved masonry oven and hearth (pictured lower left).
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On the corner walls above the hearth are the remains of a painted lararium (pictured left). The upper portion, now lost, incorporated an altar flanked by two lares while the lower part (pictured left) included a garden scene with plants and bird life.
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The majority of amphorae were found empty, stacked upside down in the north east corner (k) of the courtyard (pictured opposite). The amphorae came in a variety of shapes and sizes, some marked with a description of their contents (pictured above in the Boscoreale Museum). None of the descriptions, however, alluded to the name of the owner of the workshop who remains unknown.



* Images ©Jackie and Bob Dunn are reproduced by permission from their website at www.pompeiiinpictures.com
(Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali: Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei)


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