Pompeii Faces Destruction a Second Time
Italy’s ancient city of Pompeii, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, was destroyed almost 2,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption. Now it is facing more damage as the Italian government does not spend enough money on preserving the historical site.
Recently, walls of the House of Gladiators collapsed, probably because of heavy rainfall. It is the place where the gladiators of ancient Rome practiced for their fights. In the last seven years there have been fifteen incidents in Pompeii that have damaged walls and other areas.
Pompeii is Italy’s most visited archaeological site. But the 2.6 million visitors who come each year are also doing damaging it. Without enough security guards to do checks, they take pieces of frescoes with them, draw graffiti on ancient walls and ignore signs that forbid taking flash images.
Even though Pompeii gets millions from tourists and funding from the government every year, it is not nearly enough to preserve the site. Other nearby sites, for example Herculaneum, must also be preserved with the funds. Now the Italian government is planning to cut spending on culture.
Ancient city of Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in the background
One of the top conservators of Pompeii says that the money is being spent the wrong way. Only about half of ancient Pompeii has been laid free. Instead of preserving what has already been excavated, authorities want to continue digging and excavate the entire city.
As Pompeii’s downfall has embarrassed the Italian government, the ministry is reacting to the recent events. It will be sending more archaeologists and skilled workers to preserve the site. It has assigned a new commissioner and more personnel to do the job of protecting Pompeii from the hordes of vandalizing tourists.
Pompeii was a busy Roman city that was destroyed in 79 A.D. by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Thousands of people were killed and the town was buried under 6 meters of ashes. In 1997 it became a UNESCO world heritage site.
- ancient =old
- assign = to give someone a new job
- bury = to put into the ground
- collapse = break down
- commissioner = person who is in charge of the whole site
- conservator = a person who treats historical objects and stops them from being damaged
- cut = reduce
- damage = destruction
- destroy = damage completely
- dig = to move away earth so that something can be laid free
- embarrassed = uncomfortable; to feel bad because you have made a mistake
- entire = whole
- eruption = outbreak, explosion
- excavate = dig out
- face = to deal with
- flash image = picture that is made with a special bright light
- foot = bottom
- forbid = not allow
- fresco = painting made on the wall while the plaster is still wet
- funding = money
- government = the people who rule a country
- graffiti = writings and pictures that people draw on walls
- horde= mass, large group
- ignore = do not care about
- incident = event, happening
- personnel = workers
- preserve = protect, conserve
- react = to do something about it
- recently = a short time ago
- security guard = people who go around and protect the site and see to it that visitors do not touch anything
- site = place, location
- skilled = to be good at doing a certain job
- vandalize = to damage things
- world heritage site = a place that, according to UNESCO, is very important for our world and must be saved or preserved