Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Angela Commito


garden, Oplontis, House of the Faun, Pompeii, Rome, villa, domus


My research takes a psychologically influenced approach to the study of archaeological remains to explore the experiential nature of ancient gardens in the Roman domus and villa of the Campania region of southern Italy. I argue that significant factors of spatial and social theory drove the intended experience in space and in the curated environment of the garden. I focus on the architecture of these spaces, such as peristyles and reflecting pools, from which walking paths and movement through space can be reconstructed. I also dive into understanding the remains of horticulture, including different plants and trees that would have grown naturally or been planted by the owner of the home for either pleasure or production. Both the domus and the villa share characteristics that allowed a visitor to have a unique experience in the household garden, influenced by what it contained within each component space. Through wall paintings, mosaics, literary texts, and archaeological remains, it is possible to piece together the whole story of these gardens and understand why they existed. The evidence provided by The House of the Faun and the Villa A at Oplontis allow for us to conclude that gardens are heterotopias of illusion or utopias about the experience inside them. My research brings in social theory and spatial theory to further tell the story of why gardens in the modern day are safe havens or retreats. I merge two disciplines together, archaeology and psychology, to expand the story of the lived experiences of Roman gardens.