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Address: Regio I, Insula 12
Area: 410 square meters
Workshop is a large enterprise for the production of garum, an
ancient Roman seasoning made of salty fish sauce. The Romans used
the garum literally in everything as Americans use ketchup today. Garum was
made by crushing and fermenting fish in brine from salty seawater.
Their internal intestinal enzymes were poured into a common sauce,
where they decomposed the flesh of such fish such as eel, tuna, anchovy
and mackerel. Often greens, spices and wine were added to it. This
sauce was poured into large amphoras. With all the trouble of the
process itself, the garum has a rather interesting flavor.
The building of Garum Workshop was
quite cozy. It is difficult to say whether it was built as a private
mansion or was built under a small workshop. In any case, the layout
is different from other private houses in Pompeii. Although it does
not impress with its sophistication, there was a private garden with
two fig trees, judging by the remnants of their roots. Today two olive trees grow here.
Garum Workshop was excavated in
1958 and then completed excavations in 1960–61. Most of the murals
collapsed, but what remains says a colorful and vibrant building.
Amphoras were kept under the roof in the garden. When they were
discovered by archaeologists, they saved characteristic garum flavor and even the remnants of fish sauce at the bottom of amphorae.
A simple entrance (a) to the Garum Workshop opens on the north
side of Via di Castritio in a square room (b). This section of the
workshop is in rather poor condition, and only a few faded remnants
of gypsum are preserved today. Room (b) is lit by a small window on
the south wall. The opening on the east side of this room is room
(c), which is about the same size and is in equally poor condition.
On the north wall of this room there is a small arched niche, and on
its south wall is a square window overlooking Via di Castritio. The
door on the north side of the front room (b) opens to another
dilapidated room (d), which, in turn, opens onto the southern
portico of the peristyle (f). Peristyle, apparently, was surrounded
by columns only on the south side. The columns are made of brick and
covered with plaster, and support the inner edges of the roof.
The north wall of the peristyle was decorated with large garden
paintings framed with a red frame on both sides of the doorway to
the rear garden. In the northwestern corner (d), six amphoras were
found, five of which are still in place. When they were found, the
amphora contained the remains of a fish sauce, the smell of which is
During the excavation of the peristyle
garden of the Garum Workshop, cavities formed by the roots of two
large fig trees were discovered. The peristyle garden was later got
an addition of two olive trees.
In the southwest corner of
the peristyle there is a small kitchen (h). In front of the entrance
in the northwest corner of the room there is a well-preserved
stonework and hearth. On the corner walls above the hearth are the
remains of painted Lararia. Lararius is a private altar for the
worship of ancestors and patron gods at home. The upper part, now
lost, included an altar surrounded by two lares, while the lower
part included an image of a garden scene with plants and birds. On
the same side of the peristyle as the kitchen, there is a small room
(i). The vaulted room is decorated with frescoes in the third style
with large red panels over the bottom black frieze. The central
panel on each wall depicts natural scenes on a white background. The
scenes are now very faded and have lost most of their details. Above
the painted cornice of the upper zone are depicted a fantastic
figure on a white background. The room was lit by a small window in
the east wall.
The door in the center of the north wall of
the peristyle opens to the rear garden (j). The 'L' shaped backyard
was used as a warehouse, at least in part. Of course, a large number
of amphorae was found here. Most of the amphorae were found empty,
folded upside down in the northeast corner (k) of the courtyard.
Amphoras were of different shapes and sizes, some marked with a
description of their contents. However, none of the descriptions
referred to the name of the owner of the Garum Workshop, which