Ermak Travel Guide

 

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Garum Workshop

Garum Workshop

 

 

Address: Regio I, Insula 12
Area: 410 square meters
Rooms: 10

 

 

 

Garum WorkshopGarum 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.

 

 

 

Garum Workshop  Garum Workshop  

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 still noticeable.

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 remains unknown.

Garum Workshop  Garum Workshop