Andrew Wallace-Hadrill— 1995 James R. Wiseman Book Award
The Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to award tbe James R. Wiseman Book Award to Andrew Wallace- Hadrill for his book Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum (Princeton University Press, Princeton 1994). Coordinating and developing the analysis presented in important earlier articles, Wallace-Hadrill investigates the "social structure of the Roman house"-the way in which its setting, layout, architectonics, and decor enabled owners to present or stage their social identity and status and, at the same time, shaped Roman conceptions of social position in the first place.
Wallace-Hadrill’s investigation required an extensive rethinking of previous accounts of the various divisions and functions of the Roman house, as exemplified by the remains at Pompeii and Herculaneum, and an imaginative reconstruction of the way in which both architectural and ornamental features could have served as their signs. Attentive to such issues as the hierarchical organization of spaces in the house, its management of circulation and penetration, and its creation of different zones of spatial and visual experience and comfort, Wallace-Hadrill shows how the Roman house formatted distinctively Roman conceptions of public and private, client-oriented and family-centered, or productive and leisure-time experience.
He challenges art historians to think about the four famous "styles" of Pompeian wall painting in terms of the ways in which they marked these differences, particularly in terms of the house owner's relationships with his family, friends, clients, and servants. And he challenges archaeologists to think skeptically about the correlation between commerce and elite lifestyle; the Roman house, he urges, had a multidimensional functionality that modem distinctions can easily misunderstand.
Always attentive to the problems and limits of the evidence, Wallace-Hadrill combines careful architectural and archaeological analysis with social and art historical considerations, rigorously related to a statistical analysis of a sample of houses at Pompeii and Herculaneum designed to identify and track social and economic differences. The book very successfully crosses methodological and disciplinary boundaries but achieves an effective integration of the evidence. Lucidly presented technical argumentation and clear exposition ensure that the book should be widely read among many classicists, archaeologists, art historians, and historians.