Rethinking the Pompeian House: Doors, Closure Systems, and the Organisation of Space

Since large-scale excavations began in the mid-19th century, scholarly studies of houses in Pompeii have emphasised the 'public' nature of their design. Most Pompeian dwellings are viewed as spaces with high levels of transparency and permeability to which non-residents were afforded a certain degree of unregulated access. This theoretical paradigm has developed, however, without consideration for doors, partitions, and other closure systems that controlled visual and physical contact between various parts of the residence. By repopulating the houses of Pompeii with these boundaries, this book challenges the concept of the 'public house', demonstrating that access to, and movement within, dwellings was in fact highly regulated by the inhabitants. This represents a fundamentally new perspective on the relationship between house and society in the Roman world. The data employed in this book was generated by the Doors of Pompeii and Herculaneum Project, a multi-phase architectural survey of closure systems and their archaeological vestiges that was initiated in 2009 and examined and recorded 610 doorways in 31 houses over a period of three years.
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