Fuentes para el estudio de la Casa de Diana (VII, 6, 3) en Pompeya: la lucha por el poder y los documentos contables
In: Studi e Ricerche del Parco Archeologico di Pompei: 43, 2020
The excavation of the Domus VII, 6, 3 of Pompeii began a few months after Charles III’s return to Spain, with the discovery of the underground passage that was initially mistaken for a tomb. A closer reading of the Italian and Spanish documentation provides new data
for the history of this Pompeian house that becomes central to the different approaches taken by those involved in the archaeological policy
of the Regency: The King of Spain, Bernardo Tanucci, Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre, Karl Weber and Camillo Paderni. All of them viying
to please Charles III and leaving us accurate information on how, where and when they were digging.
The excavations, the edition of Le Antichitá di Ercolano, and the Herculanense Museum depend on Tanucci as Secretary of the Royal House.
One of his duties was to report to the King of Spain weekly, and to fulfil his wishes meticulously, as it is noted in their epistolary. Carlos de
Borbón remembers, from his palace of El Buen Retiro in Madrid, that the excavations were one of his greatest entertainments. Then a long
series of reproaches began to be reflected in their epistolary, which could be grouped under the theme of the sterility of excavations. This
constant disapproval is motivated by several reasons: firstly, the distance that prevents the king from appreciating the quality of what was
found, since the descriptions he receives are mostly limited to mere lists of objects.
Secondly, the information provided to him minimized the achievements of the fieldwork to the detriment of the advances made in the Herculanense Museum and the restoration work. Thirdly, the Ghost of the Villa of the Papyri floats in the king’s mind as the peak of the discoveries and that those will never happen again. Between March 1760 and February 1761, the excavation of this domus, also known as the house of Archaistic Diana, was subjected to all kinds of incidents and interruptions motivated by the power struggle unleashed in the absence of the king. Evidently, royal criteria, aimed at the enlargement of the museum and the publication of its collections, will be imposed at all times. The study of the documentation preserved in the Naples State Archive, Conti e Cautele related to Casa Reale Amministrativa - III Inventory, has so far barely been used by researchers. The study of this source allows us to know who participated in the work crews, workers’ names, employment status, wages and other expenses related to the excavations funded by the crown. The costs related to the extraction of mosaics, sculptures, paintings and transportation from Pompeii to Portici are also included in the weekly accounting. Likewise, the list of monthly and annual expenses related to the restoration of the findings, their installation in the museum and the expenses of their publication has been preserved.