The Terracotta Figurines from the House of Marcus Lucretius in Pompei:
The Expeditio Pompeiana Universitatis Helsingiensis (EPUH) started researching the luxurious house of Marcus Lucretius along the Via Stabiana in Pompei in 2002. The research group, whose main body consists of scholars from the University of Helsinki, is also supported by participants from Metropolia, University of Applied Sciences. The goal of the project was to reinterpret the results obtained during the first excavations of the 1860's in light of current knowledge, and to engage in further research on the whole city block.
My responsibility was the study of the terracotta figurines from the site. Twelve were mentioned in the 19th century excavations, but four had become lost over the decades since that time. The eight remaining original figurines were supplemented with two more discovered during the new Finnish excavations. This small collection can be divided on iconographic grounds into four subgroups: goddesses, draped women, oriental gods and genre pictures. Some of the items are representative of the Hellenistic tradition, while others display more Roman tastes. Thematically, the figurines reflect the importance of gardens, fertility and rebirth to the inhabitants of the area. The figurines can also be divided according to their probable use as votive or decorative objects, some of the latter perhaps being parts of furniture. Since exact provenance and context of the original eight figurines from the 1860 excavations is not known, the analysis was based primarily on iconographic study and comparisons to parallel material.
The publication is due in a few years time, and is targeted at the series of Institutum Romanum Finlandiae.