PompeiiinPictures

NGOF Pompeii. Porta Nola Tombs. Tomb of Marcus Obellius Firmus and gateway with 15 bodies.

Excavated 1976. New excavations and restoration 2015 to 2017.

 

The tomb of Obellius Firmus, whose inscription on the front pediment records the funeral of M. Obellius Firmus, aedile and joint magistrate during the reign of the Emperor Nero, was discovered and partially excavated in 1976. The excavation recovered the funerary stele and a glass cinerary urn.

In the excavations of 1975-78 the bodies of 15 individuals were found in front of the gateway and down to and on the tufa block road. See photos below.

 

The new research of 2015 has discovered a further cremation burial inside the tomb of Obellius Firmus. The ceramic vessel was accompanied by grave goods including a coin, dating to between AD 66 and AD 69, which provides new information concerning the dating of the structure. Furthermore, over 200 fragments of the ornately decorated bone covered funerary bed have been recovered, some of which have traces of the gold leaf decoration.

 

In 2017 an area was also opened immediately to the north of the tomb of Obellius Firmus, between the tomb and a precinct wall.

First investigated last summer, at the close of the excavation a large area of burning, containing ash, charcoal and burnt human bone was identified.

This area was fully excavated this year, and whilst this area yielded material associated to funerary practices, a further two burials were also discovered, placed alongside the northern side of the tomb of Obellius Firmus.

The first of these cremations was placed inside a pit lined with stone blocks and sealed with an upturned bowl, covering which was ash and hundreds of fragments of a spectacular bone funerary bed.

 

A key part of the latest multi-disciplinary project is the conservation and restoration of the funerary monument. Experts from the conservation department of the Museum of Valencia have worked to consolidate the plaster and decorated stucco of the monument.

 

See http://www.bsr.ac.uk/new-research-and-discoveries-at-the-necropolis-of-porta-nola-pompeii

See https://britishschoolatrome.wordpress.com/2017/09/07/new-discoveries-from-the-necropolis-of-porta-nola-pompeii/

See http://www.museuprehistoriavalencia.es/

See Excavation reports on Fastionline

See Pompeii Porta Nola Necropolis Project in Papers of the British School at Rome: Vol. LXXXVI, 2018, pp. 315-6.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. 
Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus and ancient roadway running past the front, looking  north-east.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus and ancient roadway running past the front.

An ancient wall is to the rear with a gateway in it. In front of this is the area where fifteen bodies were found, and casts taken.

See De Caro, S., 1979. Scavi nell'area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei in Cronache Pompeiane V. p. 95-101, figs. 25, 26.

 

The BSR excavation of 2016 of the area immediately to the north and west of the tomb of Marcus Obellius Firmus aimed to understand the role of a tufa wall built 5 m to the north of the tomb.

The wall was initially exposed by the excavations of 1908 and was interpreted as demarcating the pomerium of the city.

This hypothesis was later challenged following the discovery of a gateway in the wall and a beaten-earth road leading from the basalt road that runs around the city.

The structures were interpreted as possibly forming part of the Pagus set aside for the tomb of Obellius Firmus, one of the most powerful families in Pompeii at the time of the AD 79 eruption.

Following the clearance of a shallow level of topsoil and some lapilli, a series of deposits were recorded which contained the clearance of material from inside an ustrinum, including fragments of a funerary bed, ash and charcoal. Furthermore, immediately to the north of the tomb of Obellius Firmus, at a depth of 0.77m, an ustrinum cut into the ground was discovered.

To the west of the tomb a further stretch of a beaten-earth road was exposed which led from the basalt road through the small gateway.

The initial study of the stratigraphy of the area appears to indicate that the area underwent a substantial reorganisation after AD 62.

 

See BSR Porta Nola reports on Fasti.org

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus and ancient roadway running past the front, looking west.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus and ancient roadway running past the front, looking west.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus and roadway, looking east.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus and roadway, looking east.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. 
Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus and ancient road running past the front south side of it.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus and ancient road running past the front south side of it.

 

NGOF Pompeii. September 2011. Area at west side of Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

NGOF Pompeii. September 2011. Area at west side of Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

NGOF Pompeii. 2015. Tomb undergoing restoration by the conservation department of the Museum of Valencia.
Photo courtesy of Porta Nola Necropolis Project.
http://www.museuprehistoriavalencia.es/

NGOF Pompeii. 2015. Tomb undergoing restoration by the conservation department of the Museum of Valencia.

Photo courtesy of Porta Nola Necropolis Project.

http://www.museuprehistoriavalencia.es/

 

NGOF Pompeii. September 2011. Front south wall of Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

NGOF Pompeii. September 2011. Front south wall of Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus. Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Front south wall of Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Front south wall of Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus.

 

NGOF Pompeii, 1978. Front south wall of Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus, with graffiti. Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details. J78f0565

NGOF Pompeii, 1978. Front south wall of Tomb of M. Obellius Firmus, with graffiti. Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J78f0565

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Inscription on marble plaque on south wall of tomb of M. Obellius Firmus.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Inscription on marble plaque on south wall of tomb of M. Obellius Firmus.

 

NGOF Pompeii. September 2011. Inscription on marble plaque from south wall of tomb of M. Obellius Firmus.
Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.
The inscription reads

M(arco) OBELLIO M(arci) F(ilio) FIRMO AEDILI
IIVIR(o) I(ure) D(icundo) HVIC DECURIONES LOC(um)
SEPVLTVRAE ET IN FVNER(ibus) HS IƆƆ CENSUER(unt) PAGANI
THURIS P(ondo) XXX ET CLUPEUM, MINISTR(i) EOR(um) IN ODORIB(us) HS CIƆ ET CLUPEUM

According to Cooley this translates as
To Marcus Obellius Firmus, son of Marcus, aedile, duumvir with judicial power. 
The town councillors decreed him a burial place and 5000 sesterces for his funeral;
the inhabitants of the country district decreed him 30 pounds of frankincense and a shield, and their attendants 1000 sesterces for perfumes, and a shield.
See Cooley, A. and M.G.L., 2004. Pompeii : A Sourcebook. London : Routledge. (p. 141, G12).
Franklin translates ministri as magistrates rather than attendants.
See Franklin J. L., 1999. Pompeis difficile est. University of Michigan. (p. 136).

NGOF Pompeii. September 2011. Inscription on marble plaque from south wall of tomb of M. Obellius Firmus.

Photo courtesy of Michael Binns.

The inscription reads

 

M(arco) OBELLIO M(arci) F(ilio) FIRMO AEDILI

IIVIR(o) I(ure) D(icundo) HVIC DECURIONES LOC(um)

SEPVLTVRAE ET IN FVNER(ibus) HS IƆƆ CENSUER(unt) PAGANI

THURIS P(ondo) XXX ET CLUPEUM, MINISTR(i) EOR(um) IN ODORIB(us) HS CIƆ ET CLUPEUM

 

According to Cooley this translates as

To Marcus Obellius Firmus, son of Marcus, aedile, duumvir with judicial power.

The town councillors decreed him a burial place and 5000 sesterces for his funeral;

the inhabitants of the country district decreed him 30 pounds of frankincense and a shield, and their attendants 1000 sesterces for perfumes, and a shield.

See Cooley, A. and M.G.L., 2004. Pompeii: A Sourcebook. London: Routledge. (p. 141, G12).

Franklin translates ministri as magistrates rather than attendants.

See Franklin J. L., 1999. Pompeis difficile est. University of Michigan. (p. 136).

 

NGOF Pompeii. Plan of the tomb. Stefano de Caro also shows two cross sections of the tomb.
See De Caro S., 1979. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, figs. 3-5, pp. 66-7.

NGOF Pompeii. Plan of the tomb. Stefano de Caro also shows two cross sections of the tomb.

See De Caro S., 1979. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, figs. 3-5, pp. 66-7.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Interior of the tomb of M. Obellius Firmus looking at rear of south wall.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Interior of the tomb of M. Obellius Firmus looking at rear of south wall.

 

NGOF Pompeii. 1976. The burial in the north-east  of the tomb.
According to Stefano de Caro, a marble columella in human shape, but without an inscription, indicated the place of the burial.
In front of this were two tiles lying flat and upside down on a thin bed of mortar.
Near the columella was a hole in the centre, protected, with the tip of an amphora.
Below it was the mouth of a terracotta tube used for the libations. 
Alongside this, at a depth on 20cm below the tomb floor, was a clear blue glass cinerary urn, in fragments, fitted with a matching lid and with handles in the shape of an “M”.
See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, figs. 8-9, pp. 71-3.

NGOF Pompeii. 1976. The burial in the north-east of the tomb.

According to Stefano de Caro, a marble columella in human shape, but without an inscription, indicated the place of the burial.

In front of this were two tiles lying flat and upside down on a thin bed of mortar.

Near the columella was a hole in the centre, protected, with the tip of an amphora.

Below it was the mouth of a terracotta tube used for the libations.

Alongside this, at a depth on 20cm below the tomb floor, was a clear blue glass cinerary urn, in fragments, fitted with a matching lid and with handles in the shape of an “M”.

See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, figs. 8-9, pp. 71-3.

 

NGOF Pompeii. 1976. Cinerary urn from the burial in the north-east of the tomb.
According to Stefano de Caro, a marble columella in human shape, but without an inscription, indicated the place of the burial.
At the side of the libation tube at a depth on 20cm below the tomb floor, was a clear blue glass cinerary urn, in fragments, fitted with a matching lid and with handles in the shape of an “M”.
See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, figs. 8-9, pp. 71-3.

NGOF Pompeii. 1976. Cinerary urn from the burial in the north-east of the tomb.

According to Stefano de Caro, a marble columella in human shape, but without an inscription, indicated the place of the burial.

At the side of the libation tube at a depth on 20cm below the tomb floor, was a clear blue glass cinerary urn, in fragments, fitted with a matching lid and with handles in the shape of an “M”.

See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, figs. 8-9, pp. 71-3.

 

The new research of 2015 has discovered a further cremation burial inside the tomb.

The ceramic vessel was accompanied by grave goods including a coin, dating to between AD 66 and AD 69, which provides new information concerning the dating of the structure.

Furthermore, over 200 fragments of the ornately decorated bone covered funerary bed have been recovered, some of which have traces of the gold leaf decoration.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Graffiti on front south wall of tomb of M. Obellius Firmus. The tomb walls contained several painted inscriptions and graffiti, including an announcement of games.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Graffiti on front south wall of tomb of M. Obellius Firmus.

The tomb walls contained several painted inscriptions and graffiti, including an announcement of games.

 

NGOF Pompeii. Inscriptions on the front south wall of the tomb. Stefano de Caro lists 14 inscription on the sides of the tomb.
See De Caro S., 1979. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, pp. 65-80.

NGOF Pompeii. Inscriptions on the front south wall of the tomb. Stefano de Caro lists 14 inscriptions on the sides of the tomb.

See De Caro S., 1979. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, pp. 65-80.

 

NGOF Pompeii. Inscriptions on west wall of tomb.
See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, fig. 11, p. 76.

NGOF Pompeii. Inscriptions on west wall of tomb.

See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, fig. 11, p. 76.

 

NGOF Pompeii. Inscription on east wall of tomb.
See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, fig. 12, p. 78.

NGOF Pompeii. Inscription on east wall of tomb.

See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, fig. 12, p. 78.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Exterior of north rear wall of tomb of M. Obellius Firmus.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Exterior of north rear wall of tomb of M. Obellius Firmus.

 

In 2017 an area was also opened immediately to the north of the tomb of Obellius Firmus, between the tomb and a precinct wall. First investigated last summer, at the close of the excavation a large area of burning, containing ash, charcoal and burnt human bone was identified. This area was fully excavated this year, and whilst this area yielded material associated to funerary practices, a further two burials were also discovered, placed alongside the northern side of the tomb of Obellius Firmus.

 

Behind the tomb was an extensive deposit of ash and charcoal, amongst which were recorded hundreds of fragments of a spectacular wooden funerary bed decorated with delicately carved animal bone.

 

The first of the cremations was 0.5m to the north of the tomb of Obellius Firmus and was placed inside a pit lined with tufa stone blocks. There was no burial marker. The coarseware cremation urn was covered by an upturned bowl, and the lid of the urn was covered by a thick layer of lime or chalk.

 

The second cremation burial was placed directly against the northern foundation of the tomb and had no visible burial marker.  The cut of the cremation indicated that the burial was placed alongside the tomb foundations after its construction.

 

See Pompeii Porta Nola Necropolis Project in Papers of the British School at Rome: Vol. LXXXVI, 2018, pp. 315-6.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. East side wall of tomb of M. Obellius Firmus

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. East side wall of tomb of M. Obellius Firmus, on left.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. 
Looking north at area between tomb of M. Obellius Firmus and tomb of Aesquillia Polla.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Location of a buttress that strengthened the road.

Looking north at area between tomb of M. Obellius Firmus and tomb of Aesquillia Polla.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. 
Looking west along roadway leading into unexcavated area near tomb of M. Obellius Firmus, on right.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Looking west along roadway leading into unexcavated area near tomb of M. Obellius Firmus, on right.

See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, fig. 24, p. 96.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Looking west from roadway leading into unexcavated lapilli showing surge layers and debris of 79AD.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Looking west from roadway leading into unexcavated lapilli showing surge layers and debris of 79AD.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Lapilli layers of 79AD

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. Lapilli layers of 79AD

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. View from area north-west of tomb looking towards the city walls near the Nola Gate.
According to De Caro – 
“The group of people found in the recent explorations was composed of 15 individuals, all of whom fell in the space of a few metres”.
See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, (p.95-101).
The area where they were found can be seen, where the grassed area meets the roadway, looking through the gateway through which ran a beaten earth roadway.
The bodies were found in front of the gateway and down to and on the tufa block road. 
A beaten earth road ran through the gateway and joined with the tufa block road.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. View from area north-west of tomb looking towards the city walls near the Nola Gate.

According to De Caro –

“The group of people found in the recent explorations (1975-78) was composed of 15 individuals, all of whom fell in the space of a few metres”.

See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, (p.95-101).

The area where they were found can be seen, where the grassed area meets the roadway, looking through the gateway through which ran a beaten earth roadway.

The bodies were found in front of the gateway and down to and on the tufa block road.

A beaten earth road ran through the gateway and joined with the tufa block road.

 

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. View from area north of tombs looking towards the city walls near the Nola Gate.

NGOF Pompeii. May 2006. View from area north of tombs looking towards the city walls near the Nola Gate.

 

Casts of bodies found outside Porta Nola near tomb of Obellius Firmus.

See De Caro S., 1976. Scavi nell’area fuori Porta Nola a Pompei: Cronache Pompeiane V, (fig. 25).

 

In 2012 the Porta Nola Necropolis Project research focused upon the investigation of the casts of fugitives discovered in 1975 near the necropolis outside Porta Nola.
The study involved the direct examination of the visible bones through the plaster and the use of a laser scanner and x-ray machine to record the external and interior morphology of the casts.

A detailed examination of the physical anthropology of the individuals preserved in the casts had not previously been undertaken, yet these casts are the most humane archaeological remains of Pompeii, and in their interior preserve the best anthropologic material to better understand the inhabitants of Pompeii.

The anthropological analysis has consisted of the reconstruction of bodies, an estimation of sex and age, a morphological examination to know the biological proximity and pathological identification.

The radiological study provided important data concerning the decomposition of the corpse, the estimation of the age and pathologies.

Indeed, a particular influence of artropatologies [Any of several diseases of a joint] as well as traumatic diseases that concern the extremities and the vertebral column were noted.

These diseases are particularly interesting for estimating age and the kind of physical activity the individual undertook, which perhaps was related to social status.

Severe osteoarthrosis in the articulation of knee is a key indication hard physical activity.

The 3D scanning of the bodies permitted an estimation of the real volume of corpse and the recording of all details of the subject from different angles and perspectives.

In addition, the virtual representation of the individual allows anthropological measurements to be made of anatomical components, as well as the obtaining of an exact model of the original, which when the cast is broken allows the separated parts to be reconstructed allowing the recreation of the original aspect of the individual.

See Fastionline - Porta Nola Necropolis Project 2012 report

 

 

 

 

 

The low resolution pictures on this site are copyright © of Jackie and Bob Dunn and MAY NOT IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BE USED FOR GAIN OR REWARD COMMERCIALLY. On concession of the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Parco Archeologico di Pompei. It is declared that no reproduction or duplication can be considered legitimate without the written authorization of the Parco Archeologico di Pompei.

Le immagini fotografiche a bassa risoluzione pubblicate su questo web site sono copyright © di Jackie e Bob Dunn E NON POSSONO ESSERE UTILIZZATE, IN ALCUNA CIRCOSTANZA, PER GUADAGNO O RICOMPENSA COMMERCIALMENTE. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Parco Archeologico di Pompei. Si comunica che nessun riproduzione o duplicazione pụ considerarsi legittimo senza l'autorizzazione scritta del Parco Archeologico di Pompei.

Ultimo aggiornamento - Last updated: 08-May-2019 21:21