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Regio II - Insula XI - Caseggiato della Fullonica (II,XI,2)

In the south-west part of block II,XI an industrial building was found (excavations in 1912 and 1958-1959). It was built in the late-Trajanic or early-Hadrianic period (opus mixtum), and modified extensively (opus vittatum and latericium). The rooms are arranged around a central courtyard: to the south are four shops (I-IV), to the north, going from west to east, are two shops (V-VI), a corridor (VII) and two more rooms (VIII-IX).

The courtyard could be reached from the street to the west and from the east through very wide, tripartite entrances. The east entrance was later blocked. The floor of the courtyard and of corridor VII (probably also without a roof) was covered with opus spicatum. In the centre, a bit to the south, was a travertine fountain. Later the floor of the courtyard was covered with basalt blocks. Various structures and small rooms were added, such as a basis with a few treads (vittatum) in the north-east corner. The west entrance was narrowed, only the central part was then still used as entrance. Behind the northern part of the blocking a small workshop with two basins was installed. Behind the southern part is a room with a floor of bipedales. Near the door is the lower half of a dolium, possibly a urinal of the fullers, who worked elsewhere in the building.

The courtyard and the rooms to the west and north. From Pietrogrande 1976, fig. 3 (partial).

Workshops were also found in the northern rooms. In room V are remains of a work-bench. In the corridor seems to have been a basin. In room VIII we find a basin and a small round oven, in the floor, reached along a few treads. The oven may have been used for the dyeing of cloth.

Shops I and II. From Pietrogrande 1976, fig. 3 (partial).

The entrances to shops I and II were closed off with very thick walls, perhaps supporting the facade. They were removed in 1912. The entrances to shops III and IV were also closed off, with thinner walls. The floors and thresholds were raised. A fullery was installed in shop II. All doors of shop I were closed off, but later the room was connected with the building to the east, when a door was hacked out. In the northern part of shop IV is a large staircase, accessible from the street.

The only workshop of which the function is beyond doubt is the small fullery in room II. In the back part are two basins. Along the east wall were four pressing-bowls, one of which has been preserved. A raised border prevented liquids from reaching the south part of the room. Hand-rests have not been preserved. Not far away a pressing-bowl was found made of a marble capital.


The remains of the fullery, seen from the south-west.
Photograph: Jan Theo Bakker.

[jthb - 1-Mar-2003]