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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2021

Decorative Features and Social Practices in Spaces for Agricultural Production in Roman Villas

From the book Principles of Decoration in the Roman World

  • Michael Feige


This paper examines the use of decorative features in the context of wine and oil processing facilities in the villas of Roman Italy. To this purpose, the investigation analyses the interaction of decoration with the central productive installations, the spaces surrounding them and the villa building as a whole. This relationship between utilitarian facilities, decoration and architecture makes it possible to draw conclusions about the social practices associated with these facilities and the potential motivations of the actors involved in their construction and management. The forms of decoration employed range from wall paintings to the use of representative architectural forms and innovative designs. These various techniques could be utilised to arrange production rooms to facilitate ritual acts, to provide a space for aristocratic leisure, or to emphasise the care taken in the production processes. Other owners took the opposite approach, hiding production areas with representative facades to create the impression of a luxury estate.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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