The specific research questions of the Pompeii Quadriporticus Project reflect our interest in conducting a comprehensive investigation of the Quadriporticus and setting those results within the context of the adjacent and related research projects as well as the wider urban environment at Pompeii. After three seasons of field work, we have made significant advances toward answering these research questions. These advances have refined both our methods and our understanding of those answers' implications for the ancient city.
1. Construction History. How was the Quadriporticus built and repaired in the ancient period and how has it been reconstructed since its excavation? A cursory examination of the building’s architecture appears to show a single construction event with at least one major later rebuilding phase. The results of our research in the western and southern portions of the building in 2010 and 2011 has confirmed this general observation and described in detail several related, intervening phases. The construction style of the eastern side of the Quadriporticus, studies in 2012, is nearly identical to the late phases in other parts of the building, suggesting it too was rebuilt in the final phases. Moreover, this rebuilding of the eastern side put out of use a large drainage structure (excavated in 2009, Trench 28000) for the nearby covered theater (Teatrum Tectum or Odeon), a fact that further indicates that this eastern portion is later than the rest of the building.
Continued close examination of the masonry of the Quadriporticus will help to disentangle these different events of construction. Reconstruction and restoration from the modern period is also being identified so that the impact of Pompeii’s long history as a tourist destination does not skew our interpretations. Historical drawings and paintings, in conjunction with masonry analysis, will be of particular importance.
2. Infrastructure. What role did the Quadriporticus play in the systems of municipal infrastructure? There are at least two drainage channels that physically connect the Quadriporticus to the city's wider infrastructural context. The first is a large sewer that originally ran behind western section of building. In the final period, the sewer was reoriented to flow below the western portico. This channel was originally designed to funnel waste-water from a major bath complex located in the north, but by the time of Pompeii’s destruction it was serving as the storm drain for nearly 20% of the entire city. After two seasons of research in the Quadriporticus we know a great deal about history of this transformation, but the sewer's final sections and its exit are still unknown.
The other sewer, mentioned above, is the destroyed drainage channel leading from the area of the small theater (Teatrum Tectum) to the eastern wall of the Quadriporticus. This channel, together with several drainage features along the Quadriporticus' eastern colonnade, suggest that another drainage feature also exists below the eastern portico, perhaps connected to the large cisterns known within the building. Nineteenth century representations show a modern water-wheel installed near the southern portico that made use of one such ancient cistern.Geophyscial prosepection conducted in 2011 confirmed the existence of this cistern and others, but also showed that no other ancient infrastructure passed through the open, central area of the Quadriporticus. A second campaign of Geophysics in 2012 will help clarify the activities below the floor of the colonnades.
Answering where the water from these sewers went is a priority for the PQP becasue of implications that answer has for our understanding of Pompeii, both inside and outside of the city walls. That is, the knowing where the huge volume of water from the western sewer exited the city will help us conceive of a landscape that could handle such a flow. Likewise, dating when the Teatrum Tectum's drainge system was put out of use will help us to understand why such a major infrastructural reordering was required and suggest where the water was redirected.
3. Corridor for Movement. How did Pompeians navigate the space of the Quadriporticus? How did the Quadriporticus serve as a transitional space amongst the surrounding monumental buildings and how did this pattern change over time? With one of the oldest temples at Pompeii located just to the west and with one of the oldest gates in the city to the east, the area of the Quadriporticus had operated as a corridor for movement for centuries before its construction. Although the current arrangement of the building obscures those paths, careful consideration of the Quadriporticus' construction history can demonstrate how human traffic patterns evolved and reacted to the changing architectural environment. Additionally, some of the early walls together with the alignment of the vicolo Conciapelle, may suggest the division of space prior to the construction of the Quadriporticus. Once the building had been constructed, the specific provisions for movement between the Triangular Forum, the theaters, and the via Stabiana, shows that this space continued to be an important node within the city, a collection point that redistributed the flow of people in several directions.
Answering these questions will help fill in the map of the Roman and pre-Roman topography at Pompeii. In the earliest period, a massive hill slope had to be quarried away (along with the area for the large theater) to create the large, open and flat area of the Quadriporticus. When did these events occur? What was the relationship between them? The connection to the large city sewer that intersects the building in the northwest is often used to provide a mid-second century BCE date for the Quadripoticus. There had been, however, no investigation of the stratigraphic relationships between these structures until our work in 2010-2011. Our research has found the stratigraphic evidence to confirm this connection (if not necessarily the proposed date), with the sewer and Quadriporticus physically bonded in their original construction. In the later periods, the Quadriporticus.