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Up From the Ashes, Into the Trash


by Jerome Weeks 7 Jul 2008

Remember Stabiae — the subject of last year’s Dallas Museum of Art exhibition, From the Ashes of Vesuvius, In Stabiano: Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite ? Stabiae was the wealthy Roman seaside resort about three miles from Pompeii, and like that famous town, it was buried by Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 […]

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Remember Stabiae — the subject of last year’s Dallas Museum of Art exhibition, From the Ashes of Vesuvius, In Stabiano: Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite ? Stabiae was the wealthy Roman seaside resort about three miles from Pompeii, and like that famous town, it was buried by Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 A.D. The exhibition, which toured eight museums, was the result of a unique arrangement between Italy and the United States creating the first longtime loan of antiquities from Italy to the United States.

Now comes word from the CBC that the Italian government has declared Pompeii a “disaster zone” because of its severe state of disrepair and the growing problem of trash there. A commissioner was appointed to look into the matter.

Archaeologists and art historians have been decrying the decay at Pompeii for many years. Its upkeep has been strangled by a lack of funds, litter, looting, mismanagement as well as illegal tour guides and stray dogs.

Critics say there should be more guards and more drains at the site. The state of emergency would last for a year and allows for extra funds and special measures to be taken to protect the site.

A chief reason for the garbage buildup: The trash crisis in nearby Naples, with the result that Pompeii has become a dumping ground for the overflow.

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