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Regio I - Insula VIII - Piccolo Mercato (I,VIII,1)

The Small Market is in reality a store building, built c. 120 AD (opus mixtum). In the north-east part some Severan restorations can be found (opus latericium). Part of the Castrum-wall is preserved in the south wall. The building was excavated in the early 1870's by Pietro Rosa. To the east is the Via Tecta, an alley that originally had a roof, in which many inscriptions from Ostia are now stored.

The main entrance is in the north part. It is flanked by shops and staircases behind a deep, brick porticus. The interior is arranged around two rectangular courtyards, surrounded by a portico with brick piers. The south-eastern corner pier was damaged by an earthquake (rotation around the vertical axis; Galadini - Hinsen - Stiros 2006). The courtyards are separated by a passage, the roof of which was supported by four large piers. At some point in time a low balustrade (opus reticulatum) was built between the smaller piers. The courtyards and portico had a floor of opus spicatum. In the courtyards are tufa gutters. The porticus had a gabled roof. In the south-west part of the porticus is a relief of a snake, on which some red paint has been preserved. The snake represents the Genius Loci, the "Spirit of the Place" (the original has been replaced by a copy).

To the west, south and east of the courtyards are 28 rooms. They were closed off with two doors, witness the thresholds. Above the doors were square windows and in the back walls slit windows, for light and ventilation. The rooms were c. 7 metres high and covered by barrel vaults.

In the north-west and south-east corners are two staircases. The lower part is of travertine steps, the remainder was a sloping ramp, covered with opus spicatum.

In the south-east corner is a secondary entrance. In the central south room is a doorway leading to a row of rooms to the south. It is not clear whether these rooms belonged to the building.

It is not clear what goods were stored here.

Plan of the store building

Plan of the store building. After SO I.


The Via Tecta to the east of the building, seen from the south.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

General view from the north-east. The east half of the building is used as
magazzino by the Soprintendenza. Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

The original relief of the Genius Loci. The head is in the upper left part.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

The staircase to the north-west of the courtyard, seen from the east.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

The south-eastern corner pier of the porticus, with earthquake damage.
Photograph: Antonia Arnoldus.

Another detail of the earthquake damage.
Photograph: Antonia Arnoldus.

This phenomenon is illustrated by a chimney in Poggio Roio,
which rotated as a consequence of the L'Aquila (Italy) earthquake of 2009.
Photograph: courtesy Giampiero Gabrielli.

[jthb - 6-Jun-2011]