While Pompeii Crumbles

12 Jan 2011 11:34 AM | Anonymous

While Pompeii Crumbles
Associated Press
The remains of what was once a house in the 'School of Gladiators.

The scandal over conditions at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii has yet to die down since a structure known as the "School of the Gladiators" collapsed there in early November. At least three other major collapses occurred in the past two months. Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano has called the situation a "national disgrace"; opposition parliamentarians continue to press for Culture Minister Sandro Bondi's resignation; and in mid-December, prosecutors announced that they were investigating nine people, including Pompeii's former superintendent, to see whether they should be charged with criminal neglect.

Pompeii is, of course, a uniquely important archaeological site: a 160-acre time capsule sealed by volcanic ash in A.D. 79, at the height of the Roman empire, until its rediscovery almost 1,700 years later. Yet experts and activists say that the city's perilous current state is just one dramatic example of a widespread national emergency.


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