Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Controversy over Pompeii funding

Politicians and archaeological experts are at loggerheads over the funding of the restoration and conservation of Pompeii ten months after the House of Gladiators collapsed. The house, which still lies in ruins, is awaiting the arrival of a task force of technicians and archaeologists, who have yet to be recruited. According to culture minister Giancarlo Galan, Unesco has threatened to strip the ancient site of its World Heritage status if immediate, decisive action is not taken.

Funding for the €150m needed for archaeological excavations in Italy is, in principle, coming from the European Union, although the Italian government has yet to submit a formal application for the funds. Despite this, the governing council of the ministry of cultural heritage has already earmarked €47m for the restoration and conservation of Pompeii, with €8.2m allocated for inspections and three-dimensional surveys. However, seemingly without the ministry’s knowledge, a three-dimensional study of the site has just been completed by experts from four Campania universities, in co-operation with the Sorbonne, the Barcelona School of Architecture, the Fulbright Commission and the Italian National Commission of Unesco.

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