Friday, December 10, 2010

CNN Report on Pompeii: $ Going to Digging and Large Events Instead of Conservation

CNN reports on the problems at Pompeii. One major cause is a dramatic reduction in the Ministry of Culture's budget for conservation, cut in half between 2000 and 2008. The money seems instead to have gone to produce and promote theatre and shows at Pompeii, which is unconscionable by any standard, but also to archaeological excavations:
 “The financial resources available for restoration and conservation have always been negligible. Instead it is preferred to dig, rather than preserve what has already been discovered,” explained former superintendant of the ancient city, Pietro Giovanni Guzzo.
The archaeological community faces a serious ethical problem here, as in Iraq and elsewhere, when limited resources are being misallocated in ways that support archaeological discovery but at the cost of leaving sites to the mercy of nature, looters, and tourists. Would a boycott on digging by archaeologists until and unless adequate funding for site conservation and protection is put in place do any good?

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