Each house will now be reviewed separately, as an independent living unit of the last period. This entails, first, giving a brief description (for fuller details of the structural techniques, features, and measurements, reference can be made to the gazetteer, Appendix A). Attention will be paid to the internal functioning of the house, in so far as this can be determined from formal features (Wallace-Hadrill in his article on the social structure of the Roman house makes it clear how flexible the functioning of the house must have been in practice and how difficult it is to reach firm conclusions), to the evidence for the existence and arrangement of upper storeys, to the disposition of the roofs, and to what we know about owners or occupiers and their activities. As stated in the Introduction, further approaches to some of these questions, notably regarding room functions and the occupations of owners, will emerge from the studies of decorations and finds in Volumes II and III. Many questions will, inevitably remain unanswered. Without full excavation of cisterns and drains, for example, it is impossible to be certain about all details of water provision and disposal. The roof reconstructions, in particular, have to remain hypothetical. Although some of the restoration undertaken at the time of excavation is clearly based upon evidence visible to the excavators, it is probable that other parts were restored in a more arbitrary fashion (see p. 12 n. 13). In any case, the bulk of the insula was not reroofed at all, and much of the potential evidence, even if it was available in 1927-32, is now irrevocably lost. The reconstructions proposed, which are gathered together in visual form in Figs. 55-8, exploit such clues as still remain, but are otherwise based on such doubtful criteria as ‘probability and logic’. But the insula, as we shall see, is a palimpsest of frequent piecemeal changes, and it would be unreasonable to expect that the roof arrangements represent anything other than a series of constant compromises producing solutions which are neither ‘probable’ nor logical’.
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