The map shows the places, highlighted in yellow, that are
in this unit.
Oplontis first shows up on the Peutinger Map, a Medieval copy of
map put on display by Agrippa, Caesar's Chief of Staff and
early candidate for the succession. The map came into
possession early in the Renaissance and has borne his name ever
since. (This is a part of a modern copy of the Peutinger
The bronze age village at Nola was discovered under a thick
volcanic ash (from an eruption about 1700 BC) while a building
was being excavated. Archeologists had found other ruins
1700 BC Eruption, but this was certainly the best: whole
preserved as well as a goat pens, a pottery kiln with a pot
inside, and numerous artifacts.
The Nola site is the best preserved bronze age site
These are two huts -- long houses -- each of which may have
than one family or an extended family group. The upper hut
about 24 feel long, and the lower one is about 50 feet
is divided into two rooms, a living area and a storage area
from the entrance. There are additional images of the
Nola site at http://anthrocivitas.net/forum/showthread.php?t=5280,
and an English language article about the site is at http://www.meridies-nola.org/nola/villaggiopreistoricoing.htm.
(not to scale)
Artifacts and plant material from Nola: Human figure,
the bronze age level, may actually be
older and may have been preserved frome earlier times as a cult
object. The pottery
kiln, about two feet high and buried during the
eruption, still had a pot inside. Stalks of wheat were
A boars' teeth cap or helmet, reconstructed, from bronze age
Nola. It may have been ceremonial or may have been a
Oplontis: A sumptuous villa that probably belonged
wife, Poppea, in modern Torre Annunziata.
Fresco from inside the villa -- now in the Naples National
Archeological Museum -- shows two villas, the left of which looks
remarkably like the Villa of Poppea. The other side (front
entrance side) is still buried under the Sarno River Canal and the
modern city, so there's no way to tell whether it looked like the
side of the image.
A computer generated view of Poppea's villa. The
wall away from the viewer is the still unexcavated volcanic
debris. The lighting is a modern effect that allows viewing
site at night.
At the right side is the debris wall, and above it is the town
Three views inside the Villa of Poppea: the Oecus or
entertainment space (where large meals could be held, for
cubiculum or bedroom (note the stucco decorations around the
and the cryptoporticus passage between the living quarters and the
An external portico with half-fluted columns. A perisyle
The archeological site is not open after dark, but it is lit
viewing from the walkways above, at ground level.
Another Villa Poppea peristyle, this one with stuccoed columns
In triclinia dining rooms, food was often part of the
decorations: here, a painted basket of fruit on a painted
Restorers have inscribed the upper wall to complete the
architectural pattern of the fresco.
Two of the Villa's more famous artworks: pomegranates in
glass bowl, and a peacock on the wall.
Architectural second style decoration is often described
"theatrical". Here, modern archeologist-architects have
the "set" from the wall in a three dimensional projection.
Villa Poppea jewelry: (clockwise from upper left) rings,
sets of earrings, an emerald necklace, three bracelets, and two
-- all in gold.
A gold and emerald neckace found with the body of an eruption
"Villa B" in Oplontis -- go to http://www.smatch-international.org/Fascinating.htm
for information on emeralds from SMATCH
Villa B at Oplontis was not as big as Villa A (Poppea), but it
good architectural features like this long two level peristyle
courtyard. Discovered in 1974, it is still not open to the
Villa B was not inhabited at the time of the eruption, because
had been converted into a winery. Wine amphorae, already
on the inside with pine-pitch, were stacked upside down,
waiting for the year's vintage.
Although no landlord family was present (no furniture in the
quarters) these and sixty or so others took shelter in the villa
the eruption's Plinian phase only to be killed by the pyroclastic
of the Peleean phase. Like the bodies found in the boat
Herculaneum, these people may have been blasted into this corner
first surge-flow that hit the villa.
A strongbox of oak, iron, and bronze: it would
held valuables and important papers.
A view of Vesuvius from Boscoreale, a prominence on the
that held several large Villas. In the lower right corner,
the dikes built in the town to hold back lava from the nearby town
Boscotrecase durin a 1906 eruption.
A room from the villa of Lucius Fannius Synistor in
now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New york.
Replica bed and stool from the Synistor bedroom.
Style 2 architectural and rustic scenes from the Villa
Woman with a cithara
fresco from the Villa Synistor. The stringed cithara
the predecessor of the harp and of the guitar, the latter of which
derived its name from cithara
A Villa Synistor first style fresco: garlands, bucrania,
small images on a faux marble background.
A woman with a shield: Greek woman mourning a husband
battle. There is no necessary connection between the image
any of the inhabitants of the house.
Artifacts from the Villa Pisanella: a name seal,
carriage ornaments, a large olive crusher, a bronze door handle,
bronze fittings for a bed. The villa was excavated in the
1890s and then re-buried.
Gold jewelry was found with the silver "Boscoreale
found in the Villa Pisanella.
More than one hundred pieces of a serving and eating silver
found at the Villa Pisanella. Most of the pieces are now in
Louvre in Paris.
More of the Villa Pisanella Boscoreale silver.
Two cups from the Boscoreale treasure. Replicas are
on line from the Louvre store.
Two Boscoreale silver ewers.
One of several large silver trays from the Boscoreale
The Villa Regina at Boscoreale was a working farm with no
entertainment rooms. It has been restored and replanted as
before the 79 AD eruption.
The main product of the Villa Regina was wine. In this
are two views of buried dolia, large jugs in which wine was
Various artifacts from the Villa Regina. The amphora,
right, was the type used for storage of honey or
Below it is a Silenus.
Food items recovered from Boscoreale villas. Bread, figs,
walnuts are carbonized.
Artifacts recovered from the Boscoreale villas (not to scale)
Agrippa's country villa at Boscotrecase was decorated in third
style. The two most important rooms are now called the Black
and the White Room. The image shows a single panel from the
room. Agrippa probably build the retreat for use by his
Details -- black room.
Egyptian details -- black room
More black room details.
Mythology details -- black room: Perseus and Andromeda /
Polyphemus and Galatea.
White room decorations.
White room decorations.
Castellammare di Stabia now stands where ancient Stabiae was
out along the south eastern end of the Bay of Naples.
On August 24 of 79 AD Pliny was summoned to rescue the
a friend at Oplontis (Torre Annunziata). He was unable to
ashore there because of the accumulation of volcanic debris --
floating pumice -- and because the water had receded in
tsunami activity. He went ashore at Stabiae and died there
next morning, probably of heart failure.
A modern internet tourist map of the villas at Stabiae:
map shows only
the few that were excavated, but they probably were strung like
by side along a low cliff that was separated from the shore by a
beach. The shoreline is now more than a mile from the ruins,
mostly as a result of volcanic deposits. The Pyroclastic
stopped short of Stabiae but it was in the path of the Plinian
Stabiae's two famous fashion plates inspired 18th, 19th, and
century designers of women's clothing.
A fresco from one of the Stabian villas shows the harbor.
A closer view of the upper part of the same fresco gives an
what the Villas looked like along the shore.
From the Villa Pastore (Villa of the Shepherd) comes this
non-Christian image of the "Good Shepherd". The villa
have built in two phases on different axes.
What is now identified as the Villa Arianna is actually 2
villas. In the larger of the two is a fresco of Dionysus and
Ariadne, shown here.
The Villa San Marco is at the end of the string of pearls at
eastern end of the low cliff. The fresco has been identified
Mercury, but it is clearly Perseus with the head of Medusa.