Venture down that creaky staircase to explore the most misunderstood room in the house! From Pompeii to Pittsburgh, the dark, cool, and forlorn spaces beneath our living quarters have always contained things that helped us live comfortably. Ancient Hittites, Phrygians, and Persians carved subterranean rooms for food, water, and wine storage, and for shelter from weather and marauders. For ancient Greeks and Romans, a basement greatly increased a house’s value. Ruins of homes at Pompeii reveal the importance of basements in providing both heat and storage for rich Roman families. Renaissance architects placed kitchens, servant quarters, and laundry rooms there, hidden from the eyes of their aristocratic patrons! Colonial Americans expanded the practice, and by the 20th century, the basement was a routine feature. Come along as we demystify this domestic underworld, which turns out to be an area of innovation, imagination, and creativity.