2017 Excavations

The 2017 excavation season at the necropolis of Porta Nola focused on two areas: the burials of Praetorians identified during the 1970’s clearance of the AD 79 eruption layers and the area immediately north of the tomb of Obellius Firmus, between the rear wall of the tomb and a tufa wall, perhaps delimiting the funerary area, 5 m to the north.

The excavation behind the tomb of Obellio Firmo was revealed a further two cremation burials. The first lay 0.5m to the north (beside and underneath a modern metal roof post and concrete base at the north-west corner of the tomb of Obellio Firmo), the cut of which was defined a fill of large pieces of tufa. The coarseware cremation urn was covered by an upturned vessel as well as a lid with a thick layer of lime or chalk. The second cremation burial was placed directly against the northern foundation of the tomb of Obellio Firmo, suggesting a later date for the burial to that of Obellio Firmo.

The second area investigated lies on the slope opposite the tomb of Obellius Firmus. During clearance of the area in the mid-1970s a row of marble columellae were identified (and subsequently removed), three of which had the names of Praetorinas (Sex.Caesernius Montanus, L.Manilius Saturninus and L.Betutius Niger) and one broken, with only the line ‘Annos XI’. The aim of the 2017 excavation was to relocate the positions of these burial markers and to recover the associated cremations.

Excavation Reports

Interim reports on the third season of excavation can be found at:


Papers of the British School at Rome 85 (Forthcoming)