Project 2: Imagery and ornaments on small finds from the Insula di Menandro (I, 10) at Pompeii

Head of a bronze candelabrum from the Casa del Menandro (I.10.4)
Foto: A. Hielscher


Decorative principles are not exclusive for architecture and build spaces. They have been applied to small finds as well. In this consequence objects have their own decorative potential. This aspect has been excluded from WP 1 and will be scrutinized in this PhD-project there, concerning the inventory of the Insula del Menandro (I.10.) from Pompeii.

There has been no analysis and overall study of the decorative spectrum of these finds, neither in aesthetic nor semantic terms. This will be the first step of this work. Allison’s publication includes 2000 individual finds in total. These consists of decorated as well as undecorated objects like: ceramics, glass, a richly illustrated and ornamented silver treasure, a small number of statues and statuettes, bronze fittings of furniture or a sun dial.

Mobile objects are clearly carriers of decor (images and ornaments) and therefore they contribute to the general atmosphere of houses. But for the question of contextualization it cannot be assumed that find spots necessarily correspond directly to the original contexts of use and specific rooms. So this project will study in a second step, how the elements of décor of specific objects are related to their act of using. Furthermore, it seeks to identify in a third step the extent, to which the atmosphere of the houses in the Insula di Menandro was additionally charged by mobile small finds in aesthetic and semantic terms.