A new roof for The House of Caecilius


The Ruins of Pompeii

Pompeii was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on the evening of August 23rd to August 24th 79 CE. Pompeii, and the villas at Oplontis and Stabiae and the villa rustica at Boscoreale, were covered by ash and pumice while Herculaneum was covered under seventy feet of volcanic mud. Life in these cities suddenly stopped and they cities were hidden from view beneath the debris of Vesuvius until the 18th century when they were accidentally re-discovered during the reign of the Bourbon King of Naples, Charles III.

Under active excavation since that time, the sites have yielded important evidence about the daily life of the Romans including jewellery, coins, artwork in the form of incredible mosaics and frescoes. Today, life has returned to the “scavi” as thousands of visitors make their way through the sites.

The Design

A contemporary solution to a historic problem.

The new roof will protect the ruins from the rain and sunshine, maintaining the priceless treasures contained within.  The proposal is for a metal roof which reflects the ruins back on themselves and offer a whole new perspective on the house.

What we need

Today, while the tablinum has a roof to protect the remaining frescoes in a rich ochre, there is no roof over the atrium. The frescoes on the walls of the atrium have been bleached or eroded from the exposure to the sunlight and the elements. The mosaic floor is covered with moss in the winter and plant material grows up between the tesserae destabilizing the tiles. The walls, made of soft tufa stone, never meant to be exposed to the elements, are eroding.

A roof over the atrium would protect the remaining frescoes and mosaics and would protect the walls. It will allow Caecilius’ house to withstand the damaging effects of the environment.

We need students, current and former, and teachers of the Cambridge Latin Course, who have learned about Caecilius, professors of Classics and everyone who loves the ancient world and wants to preserve this site for posterity to help us raise the funds to raise a roof for Caecilius.

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Lucius Caecilius Jucundus

He was likely the son of a former slave, Lucius Caecilius Felix, born during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Though he died in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE, some scholars suggest that he might have perished in the earthquake of 62 CE. He was an impressive entrepreneur being engaged in a variety of economic ventures which included lending money, collecting taxes, acting as an auctioneer, renting out his land to tenant farmers, being a cloth merchant and a fuller and he was a slave-dealer. His many commercial activities give an indication of the economic life of Pompeii itself.

Familia Caecilii

Working to preserve the legacy of Lucius Caecilius Jucundus

Margaret Anne Gillis
Margaret Anne Gillis


Margaret-Anne Gillis, B.A. (Honours Latin), B. Ed., M.A. (Classics), O.C.T., currently teaches Latin at Innisdale Secondary School in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. She has taught the Cambridge Latin Course for 26 years and is committed to preserving the House of Caecilius so that future generations of students and teachers of the Cambridge Latin Course can visit his house.

Andrew Choptiany
Andrew Choptiany


Andrew was a former student of Mrs Gillis and when he got her call to design a new roof for the House of Caecilius, he jumped at the opportunity to help out and protect the ruins. He has worked in Toronto, New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam and now London England. He brings his experience in architecture to the project.

Jade Stella Wells
Jade Stella Wells

Digital Conservation Consultant

Jade received her BAH at Queen's University for Classical Studies and is currently working on her MA in Classics with a focus on 3D Reconstruction

The Swedish Pompeii Project

We’re partnering with the Swedish Pompeii Project in order to best preserve and restore the House of Caecilius.  Their tireless efforts have helped maintain the heritage of the house.  The roof proposal is designed to help safeguard the work of the Project.

Professor Arja Karivieri

Stockholm University

Dr. Renée Forsell

Lund Univeristy

Professor Anne-Marie Leander Touati

Lund Univeristy Director of the Swedish Pompeii Project

Hans Thorwid


Danilo Marco Campanaro

Lund University