Scavi di Boscoreale ed Antiquarium
Boscoreale is a town north of Pompeii, lying on the slopes of Vesuvius, identified by some as the Pagus Augustus Felix Suburbanus. On account of its fertility it was inhabited since protohistorical times and reoccupied after the eruption of 79 A.D. In the Roman age it was full of villas and farms that specialised in cultivating vines, olives and cereals. Established in 1991, the Antiquarium di Boscoreale illustrates, by means of exhibits found at the archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Stabiae, Terzigno, and Boscoreale, and accompanying captions, the main characteristics of the Vesuvian environment in the Roman Age and the human use of its natural resources. With the aid of various sciences applied to archaeology, it is in fact possible to reconstruct what the situation was in various places in the Vesuvian area, the types of flora and fauna there, some of which have disappeared, as well as the agricultural and pastoral state of affairs and, more generally, the way of life of the local people in antiquity and their relationship with the environment.
The museum tour ends with a visit to a farm located in the immediate vicinity: the ‘villa rustica’ at Villa Regina, the only one accessible to visitors that is fully excavated. For this villa too, the production of wine was the main activity, as demonstrated by the rooms used for pressing grapes, with the pressing vat (calcatorium) and the fixed arrangements for assembling the wooden press (torcular), and the great ‘cella vinaria’ with its sunken clay jars (dolia defossa) for conserving wine.
Numerous finds from this and from other villas in the district are exhibited in the Antiquarium. Villa Regina has a number of rooms laid out on three sides of an open-air courtyard, which houses the ‘cella vinaria’ with its eighteen dolia. In its original layout, the villa, which once also had an upper storey, can be dated back to the 1st century B.C. and was extended in at least two subsequent phases in the Augustan and Julio-Claudian Age.
During excavation a wagon (plaustrum) was found in the colonnade, of which evidence remains in the ruts left by its wheels on the surface of a lane adjacent to the villa.
The land surrounding the villa was being used for agricultural purposes in 79 A.D. and preserves traces of its ancient crops; casts have been made of the roots of the vines. Alongside these, vines have been replanted to reconstruct for visitors the layout of the vineyard.
Along the walls of the excavation the stratigraphy of the terrain clearly shows the succession of deposits of pyroclastic materials as a result of the eruption of 79 A.D., which led to the destruction of this small farm.
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