Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Pompeii and its Hinterland Connection: The Fuel Consumption of the House of the Vestals (c. Third Century BC to AD 79)

  • Robyn Veal (a1) (a2)
Abstract

Bio-archaeological studies can contribute significantly to understanding the economic interactions between cities and their hinterland. In Pompeii, where research has often been intramurally focussed, analysis of biological remains is often confined to bones and macro-botanicals consumed as foodstuffs. Charcoal, if collected, often remains unexamined, and yet this material is key to understanding the fuel economy of a city. This study has two goals: first, to describe an efficient method for charcoal sampling and analysis in a dense urban environment using only dry-sieved charcoals above 5 mm; and, second, in doing so, to demonstrate the dependent relationship between Pompeii and its hinterland for the provision of fuel in a case study from the House of the Vestals. A pilot study of 25 contexts from six ‘rooms’ and 750 charcoal fragments was followed by an extended study of 62 contexts over 14 rooms (a total of 1579 charcoal fragments). The extended results identified only two further (minor) taxa (represented by only three fragments). The most important wood identified was beech (Fagus sylvatica), which constituted 50–75 per cent of the fuel supply, depending on the time period. Beech grows preferentially above about 900 m in central and southern Italy. Pompeii lies at 30 m altitude with the nearest mountain areas at least 15 km away. The study suggests that a methodology that relies on collection of charcoal from routine dry sieving (5 mm grid), in soils where this is possible, can provide robust results in a cost effective manner in an urban setting.

Les études bioarchéologiques peuvent contribuer considérablement à la compréhension des interactions économiques entre les villes et leur arrière-pays. À Pompéi, où la recherche s'est surtout concentrée sur le site intra-muros, l'analyse des restes biologiques est souvent limitée aux denrées alimentaires consommées comme les os et les résidus macrobotaniques. Dans la plupart des cas le charbon, s'il est ramassé, n'est pas examiné, bien que cette matière est la clé pour comprendre comment une ville organise son approvisionnement en et sa consommation de combustible. Cette étude poursuit deux buts: d'abord, décrire une méthode efficace d'échantillonnage et d'analyse de charbon dans un environnement urbain dense en n'utilisant que du charbon de taille supérieure à 5 mm obtenu par tamisage par voie sèche, et ensuite, montrer de cette façon les relations de dépendance entre Pompéi et son arrière-pays pour l'approvisionnement en combustible dans une étude de cas de la Maison des Vestales. Une étude-pilote de 25 contextes provenant de 6 ‘chambres' et de 750 morceaux de charbon fût suivi d'une étude approfondie de 62 contextes de 14 ‘chambres’ (un total de 1579 morceaux de charbon). Les résultats étendus n'identifiaient que 2 autres taxons (insignifiants) (représentés par seulement trois morceaux). Le plus important parmi le bois identifié était le hêtre (Fagus sylvatica), qui représentait entre 50 à 75% de l'alimentation en combustible, selon la période considérée. Les hêtres poussent de préférence au-dessus de 900 m dans le centre et le sud de l'Italie. Pompéi est situé à 30 m d'altitude; les régions montagneuses les plus proches se trouvent à une distance d'au moins 15 km. L'étude suggère qu'une méthodologie qui se fonde sur la collection de charbon provenant de tamisage sec effectué couramment (tamis de 5 mm), dans des sols où ceci est possible, peut apporter des résultats fiables à peu de frais, dans un milieu urbain. Translation by Isabelle Gerges.

Zusammenfassung

Bioarchäologische Studien können wesentlich zum Verständnis des ökonomischen Wechselspiels zwischen Städten und ihrem Hinterland beitragen. In Pompeji, wo der Fokus der Forschung oft auf den intramuralen Bereichen gelegen hat, beschränkt sich die Analyse biologischer Hinterlassenschaften oft auf Knochen und botanische Makroreste als Spuren konsumierter Nahrung. Holzkohle verbleit, wenn sie überhaupt gesammelt wird, oft nicht untersucht, wenngleich dieses Material einen Schlüssel zum Verständnis der Brennmaterialökonomie einer Stadt birgt. Diese Studie hat zwei Ziele: einerseits eine effiziente Methode für die Sammlung und Analyse von Holzkohle in einer dichten urbanen Umgebung mittels trocken gesiebter Fragmente über 5 mm Größe zu beschreiben und andererseits auf diesem Wege das Abhängigkeitsverhältnis zwischen Pompeji und seinem Hinterland für die Brennstoffversorgung am Fallbeispiel des Hauses der Vestalinnen nachzuvollziehen. Einer Pilotstudie von 25 Kontexten aus sechs ‘Räumen’ und 750 Holzkohlefragmenten folgte die erweiterte Studie von 62 Kontexten aus 14 ‘Räumen’ und insgesamt 1579 Holzkohlefragmenten. Die erweiterten Ergebnisse identifizierten in geringem Maße zwei zusätzliche Taxa, die durch nur drei Fragmente repräsentiert waren. Das wichtigste Holz konnte dagegen als das der Rotbuche (Fagus sylvatica) identifiziert werden, das – abhängig von der Epoche – 50–75 % des Brennmaterialbedarfs ausmachte. Die Rotbuche wächst bevorzugt oberhalb von etwa 900 m in Zentral- und Süditalien, Pompeji liegt dagegen auf 30 m ü. NN mit einer Mindestentfernung zu den nächsten Bergen von mindestens 15 km.

Die Studie zeigt, dass in Böden mit entsprechender Erhaltung eine Methode, die auf der Aufsammlung von Holzkohlen aus dem standardmäßigen Trockensieben mit einer Korngröße von 5 mm basiert, auf kostengünstige Weise in einem Städtischen Umfeld stabile Ergebnisse zeitigen kann. Translation by Heiner Schwarzberg.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Pompeii and its Hinterland Connection: The Fuel Consumption of the House of the Vestals (c. Third Century BC to AD 79)
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Pompeii and its Hinterland Connection: The Fuel Consumption of the House of the Vestals (c. Third Century BC to AD 79)
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Pompeii and its Hinterland Connection: The Fuel Consumption of the House of the Vestals (c. Third Century BC to AD 79)
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All
Allevato, E., Buonincontro, M., Vairo, M., Pecci, A., Cau, M.A., Yoneda, M., De Simone, G.F., Aoyagi, M., Angelelli, C., Matsuyama, S., Takeuchi, K. & Di Pasquale, G. 2012. Persistence of the Cultural Landscape in Campania (Southern Italy) before the AD 472 Vesuvius Eruption: Archaeoenvironmental Data. Journal of Archaeological Science, 39: 399406.
Allevato, E., Russo Ermolli, E., Boetto, G. & Di Pasquale, G. 2010. Pollen-Wood Analysis at the Neapolis Harbour Site (1st-3rd Century AD, Southern Italy) and its Archaeobotanical Implications. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37: 2365–75.
Anderson, M. 1999. AAPP 1999 Supervisor's Report: AA84, 85, 86, 101. Unpublished Report, Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford.
Asouti, E. 2001. Charcoal Analysis from Çatalhöyük and Pinarbarsi, Two Neolithic Sites in the Konya Plain, South-Central Anatolia, Turkey. , Institute of Archaeology, University College London.
Asouti, E. & Austin, P. 2005. Reconstructing Woodland Vegetation and its Exploitation by Past Societies, based on the Analysis and Interpretation of Archaeological Wood Charcoal Macro-Remains. Environmental Archaeology, 10: 118.
Auricchio, M.O. 2001. La Casa di Giulio Polibio. Giornale di Scavo 1966/1978. Tokio: Centro Studi Arti Figurative Università di Tokio.
Bonghi Jovino, M. ed. 1984. Ricerche a Pompei: L'Insula 5 della Regio VI dalle Origini al 79 d.C. Roma: L'Erma di Bretschneider.
Büntgen, U., Tegel, W., Nicolussi, K., McCormick, M., Frank, D., Trouet, V., Kaplan, J.O., Herzig, F., Heussner, K.-U., Wanner, H., Luterbacher, J. & Esper, J. 2011. 2500 Years of European Climate Variability and Human Susceptibility. Science, 331: 578–82.
Castelletti, L. 1984. Annalisi dei Legni. In: Bonghi Jovino, M. ed. Ricerche a Pompei l'Insula 5 della Regio VI dalle Origini al 79 d.C. (campagne di scavo 1976–1979). Roma: L'Erma di Bretschneider, pp. 352–55.
Chabal, L., Fabre, L., Terral, J.-F. & Théry-Parisot, I. 1999. L'Anthracologie. In: Bourquin-Mignot, C., Brochier, J.-E. & Chabal, L. eds. La Botanique. Paris: Errance, pp. 43104.
Chrzavzez, J., Thèry-Parisot, I., Terral, J.-F., Ducom, A. & Fiorucci, G. 2011. Differential Preservation of Anthracological Material and Mechanical Properties of Wood Charcoal, an Experimental Approach of Fragmentation. In: Badal, E., Carriòn, Y., Grau, E. & Ntinou, M. eds. 5th International Meeting of Charcoal Analysis. The Charcoal as Cultural and Biological Heritage. València: Saguntum, Papeles del Laboratorio de Arqueología de València, Department de Prehistòria i Arqueologia, pp. 2930.
Ciarallo, A. 2002. Colture e Habitat del Territorio Vesuviano nel 79 d.C. Rivista di Studi Pompeiani, 12–13: 167–76.
Ciarallo, A. & De Carolis, E. 2001. La Casa di Giulio Polibio. Studi Interdisciplinari. Tokio: Centro Studi Arti Figurative Università Di Tokio.
Coubray, S. 2012. Combustibles, modes opératoires des bûchers et rituels. L'analyse anthracologique. In: van Andringa, W., Duday, H. & Lepetz, S. eds. Mourir à Pompéi. Fouille d'un quartier funéraire de la nécropole romaine de Porta Nocera (2003–2007). Rome: Collection de l'Ecole française de Rome, vol. 2, pp. 1433–49.
Di Donato, V., Esposito, P., Russo-Ermolli, E., Scarano, A. & Cheddadi, R. 2008. Coupled Atmospheric and Marine Palaeoclimatic Reconstruction for the Last 35ka in the Sele Plain – Gulf of Salerno Area (Southern Italy). Quaternary International, 190: 146–57.
Dimbleby, G.W. & Grüger, E. 2002. Pollen Analysis of Soil Samples from the A.D. 79 Level. Pompeii, Oplontis, and Boscoreale. In: Jashemski, W.F. & Meyer, F.G. eds. The Natural History of Pompeii. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 181216.
Diosono, F. 2008a. Il Commercio del Legname sul Fiume Tevere. In: Patterson, H. & Coarelli, F. eds. Mercator placidissimus. The Tiber Valley in Antiquity. New Research in the Upper and Middle River Valley. Roma: Edizioni Quasar di Severino Tognon srl, pp. 251–83.
Diosono, F. 2008b. Il Legno. Produzione e Commercio. Roma: Edizioni Quasar.
Dragoni, W. 1998. Some Considerations on Climatic Changes, Water Resources and Water Needs in the Italian Region South of 43°N. In: Issar, A. & Brown, N. eds. Water, Environment and Society in Times of Climate Change. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, pp. 241–72.
Ermolli, E.R. & di Pasquale, G. 2002. Vegetation Dynamics of South-western Italy in the Last 28kyr Inferred from Pollen Analysis of a Tyrrhenian Sea Core. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 11: 211–9.
Foss, J.E., Timpson, M.E., Ammons, J.T. & Lee, S.Y. 2002. Paleosols of the Pompeii Area. In: Jashemski, W.F. & Meyer, F.G. eds. The Natural History of Pompeii. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 6579.
Fulford, M. & Wallace-Hadrill, A. 1999. Towards a History of Pre-Roman Pompeii: Excavations Beneath the House of Amarantus (I.9.11–12), 1995–8. Papers of the British School at Rome, 67: 37145.
Gale, R. & Cutler, D. 2000. Plants in Archaeology. Identification Manual of Vegetative Plant Materials used in Europe and the Southern Mediterranean to c. 1500. Kew: Westbury Publishing and Royal Botanic Gardens.
Giachi, G., Lazzeri, S., Mariotti Lippi, M., Maccioni, N. & Paci, S.P. 2003. The Wood of “C” and “F” Roman Ships Found in the Ancient Harbour of Pisa (Tuscany, Italy): The Utilisation of Different Timbers and the Probable Geographical Area which Supplied Them. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 4: 269–83.
Grove, A.T. & Rackham, O. 2001. The Nature of Mediterranean Europe. An Ecological History. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Grüger, E., Thulin, B., Müller, J., Schneider, J., Alefs, J. & Welter-Schultes, F.W. 2002. Environmental Changes in and around Lake Avernus in Greek and Roman Times: A Study of the Plant and Animal Remains Preserved in the Lake's Sediments. In: Jashemski, W.F. & Meyer, F.G. eds. The Natural History of Pompeii. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 240–73.
Hather, J.G. 2000. The Identification of the Northern European Woods. A Guide for Archaeologists and Conservators. London: Archetype Publications Ltd.
Jalut, G., Amat, A.E., Bonnet, L., Gauquelin, T. & Fontugne, M. 2000. Holocene Climatic Changes in the Western Mediterranean, from south-east France to south-east Spain. Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 160: 255–90.
Jashemski, W.F. 2002. The Vesuvian Sites Before A.D. 79. The Archaeological, Literacy, and Epigraphical Evidence. In: Jashemski, W.F. & Meyer, F.G. eds. The Natural History of Pompeii. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 628.
Jones, R. & Robinson, D. 2004. The Making of an Elite House: The House of the Vestals at Pompeii. Journal of Roman Archaeology, 17: 107–30.
Jones, R. & Robinson, D. 2005a. The Structural Development of the House of the Vestals (VI.i.6–8, 24–26). In: Guzzo, P.G. & Guidobaldi, M.P. eds. Nuove Ricerche Archeologiche a Pompei ed Ercolano. Atti del Convegno Internazionale, Roma 28–30 Novembre 2002. 10th ed. Napoli: Electa, pp. 257–69.
Jones, R. & Robinson, D. 2005b. Water, Wealth, and Social Status at Pompeii: The House of the Vestals in the First Century. American Journal of Archaeology, 109: 695710.
Jones, R. & Robinson, D. 2006. The Development of Inequality in Pompeii: The Evidence from the Northern end of Insula VI.i. In: Mattusch, C.C., Donohue, A.A. & Bauer, A. eds. Acta of the XVIth International Congress of Classical Archaeology (Held at Harvard, August 2003). Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 498502.
Keepax, C.A. 1988. Charcoal Analysis with Particular Reference to Archaeological Sites in Britain. Unpublished , University of London.
Lamb, H.H. 1977. Climate. Present, Past and Future, Vol. 2. London: Methuen.
Lamb, H.H. 1995. Climate History and the Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Magny, M., Miramont, C. & Sivan, O. 2002. Assessment of the Impact of Climate and Anthropogenic Factors on Holocene Mediterranean Vegetation in Europe on the Basis of Palaeohydrological Records. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 186: 4759.
Mastroroberto, M. 1990. Il Mare e la Costa. In: Stefani, G. ed. Uomo e Ambiente nel Territorio Vesuviano. Pompei: Marius Edizioni, pp. 1019.
Matterne, V. & Derreumaux, M. 2008. A Franco-Italian Investigation of Funerary Rituals in the Roman World, ‘Les Rites et la Mort à Pompéi’, The Plant Part: A Preliminary Report. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 17: 105–12.
McCormick, M., Büntgen, U., Cane, M.A., Cook, E.R., Harper, K., Huybers, P., Litt, T., Manning, S.W., Mayewski, P.A., More, A.F.M., Nicolussi, K. & Tegel, W. 2012. Climate Change during and after the Roman Empire: Reconstructing the Past from Scientific and Historical Evidence. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 43: 169220.
Murphy, C. 2010. Pompeii, a Changing City: The Archaeobotanical Assemblage of Regione VI, insula I. , Institute of Archaeology, University College London.
Murphy, C., Thompson, G. & Fuller, D.Q. 2012. Roman Food Refuse: Urban Archaeobotany in Pompeii, Regio VI, Insula 1. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, DOI:10.1007/s00334-012-0385-8.
Pescatore, T., Senatore, M.R., Capretto, G. & Lerro, G. 2001. Holocene Coastal Environments near Pompeii before the A.D. 79 Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Italy. Quaternary Research, 55: 7785.
Pignatti, S. 1997. I Boschi d'Italia. Sinecologia e Biodiversità. Torino: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese.
Pignatti, S. 2003. Flora d'Italia. Bologna: Edagricole.
Reale, O. & Dirmeyer, R. 2000. Modelling the Effects of Vegetation on Mediterranean Climate During the Roman Classical Period: Part I. Climate History and Model Sensitivity. Global and Planetary Change, 25: 163–84.
Reale, O. & Shukla, J. 2000. Modelling the Effects of Vegetation on Mediterranean Climate During the Roman Classical Period: Part II. Model Simulation. Global and Planetary Change, 25: 185214.
Schoch, W., Heller, I., Schweingrüber, F.H. & Kienast, F. 2004. Wood Anatomy of Central European Species [accessed 2004]. Available at: <http://www.woodanatomy.ch/>
Schweingrüber, F.H. 1990. Anatomie europaischer Holzer. Bern: Verlag Paul Haupt.
Stefani, G. 1990. Uomo e Ambiente nel Territorio Vesuviano. Pompei: Marius Edizioni.
van Andringa, W. & Lepetz, S. 2007. I Riti e la Morte a Pompei: Nuove Ricerche Archeologiche nella Necropoli di Porta Nocera. Fasti Online, 93: 13 [accessed December 2007]. Available at: <http://www.fastionline.org/micro_view.php?fst_cd=AIAC_806&curcol=sea_cd-AIAC_1164>.
Veal, R. 2004. Pre-Roman and Roman Wood Fuel Supply to Pompeii. , Department of Archaeology, University of Sydney.
Veal, R. & Thompson, G. 2008. Fuel Supplies for Pompeii. Pre-Roman and Roman Charcoals of the Casa delle Vestali. In: Fiorentino, G. & Magri, D. eds. Charcoals From the Past: Cultural and Palaeoenvironmental Implications. Proceedings of the Third International Meeting of Anthracology, Cavallino – Lecce (Italy) June 28th–July 1st 2004. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 287–98.
Wagner, G.E. 1988. Comparability among Recovery Techniques. In: Hastorf, C.A. & Popper, V.S. eds. Current Paleoethnobotany. Analytical Methods and Cultural Interpretations of Archaeological Plant Remains. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 1735.
Wallace-Hadrill, A. 1998. Storia della Città. In: Berry, J. ed. Sotto I Lapilli. Studi nella Regio I di Pompei. Milano: Electa, p. 21.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

European Journal of Archaeology
  • ISSN: 1461-9571
  • EISSN: 1741-2722
  • URL: /core/journals/european-journal-of-archaeology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed