According to the “Giornale di Scavo” of the Archaeological Superintendance of Pompeii, the first excavation in the Regio I, Insula 9 (I,9,9) took place in 1952. In a building of seven rooms there was a stair in opus incertum with the floors in cocciopesto. Near the skeletons of four individuals, about 150 globular bowls, fritilla and ollae were found. They were assigned the numbers between 9389 and 9700. Due to the high number of containers and to the presence of material inside, they have a high importance for the history of materials in Pompeii and in the Roman world. In particular, they should be important for the reconstruction of the painting history and techniques of this period. An investigation with different techniques for the identification of the contents composition and subsequently for the understanding of the materials present was then undertaken. For the study two molecular techniques were used, that is FT-IR spectroscopy and Raman microscopy. The first is able to supply information about the general composition of the compound present in the samples at least in the concentration of about 1 %. The second techniques can inform on the composition of single grains as small as 1-2 micrometers. Therefore, the results of the two techniques must help each other to understand what the analyzed powder is. The analyses of all the bowl contents are summarized in a long table, of which we report only a section. By comparing the results obtained some considerations come to light. Many containers have quartz and calcite, that are the main component of plasters, to which feldspars and pyrite can be added. At the same time diopside can come from eruptive rocks or from silicate materials heated to high temperature. Aragonite is present, sometimes at high concentration, in many pigments, and its presence can be due to natural provenance from white minerals, but more probably can be due to the grinding of shells. This is an important testimony of what is identified in white lines on colored background in Roman wall paintings. The blue pigment is always based on Egyptian blue, at the time of Pompeii destruction coming from Puteoli or Liternum. Green can be obtained by mixing a yellow and a blue, and this is generally found on wall paintings; more frequently green is ascertained to be a mixture of green earth and some Egyptian blue. Malachite and azurite are encountered as degradation products of copper and brass containers. Other rare occurrence are cuprite, also coming from alterations of a metal, and litharge, from alteration of cerussite or lead objects. The case of cerussite or hydrocerussite is different. It can be identified in many recipients, but it is not a pigment for wall paintings. Since it is known from Pliny and other authors that it was used as a fard, this can be a proof of the production and filling also of cosmetics containers in I, 9, 9.
The Officina Pigmentaria in Pompei: pigments and cosmetics / Baraldi, Pietro; S., Petrullo; Baraldi, Cecilia; G., Trojsi; A., Varone. - STAMPA. - 1:(2011), pp. 12-13. (Intervento presentato al convegno 6th International Congress on the Application of Raman spectroscopy in Art and Archaeology tenutosi a Parma nel 5-8 September 2011).