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House of the Skeleton

a Pleiades place resource

Creators: Celia Garb, George Crooks Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Feb 23, 2023 04:10 PM History
The so-called "House of the Skeleton" was constructed in the early first century BCE in the Roman colony of Cosa. It stands an example of the domestic architecture of the Late Roman Republic.

42.4127623353, 11.286550065

building, townhouse


The House of the Skeleton was constructed early in the first century BCE, between 89 and 71. It was later destroyed between 71 and 70 BCE, after only a short period of occupation. The dates of the domus’ construction and destruction have been determined by two republican coins which were found under the home during excavations. During excavations at Cosa in 1966, a portion of the triclinium was uncovered and the home was found to be at odds with the grid system in other parts of the town. A proper excavation of the home began in 1968. By the end of the campaign of 1969, most of the major rooms in the house had been uncovered. 

The building was used as a private residence, containing many different rooms with specialized functions. The home contains two dining rooms, a garden, two bathrooms, a porticus, an oecus, three cellae, one cold-storage room, a kitchen, and a cubiculum. The home also contains common Roman design features such as an atrium and impluvium in the central hall. The home is an elegant example of domestic architecture and engineering as well as first style wall painting. The house gets its name from the skeleton of a 30 to 35 year old male which was found in one of the building’s water cisterns during excavations.


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Celia Garb, George Crooks, Jeffrey Becker, and Thomas Landvatter, 'House of the Skeleton: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2023 <> [accessed: 03 October 2023]

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