Collapses prompt UNESCO mission to assess threats to Pompeii

1 December 2010
Pompei in Italy

A series of structural collapses in Pompeii have prompted an urgent visit from United Nations experts to examine and assess the extent of the damage at one of the world’s most important archaeological sites.

Specialists from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will arrive in Italy tomorrow to examine the state of conservation at the World Heritage Site, after the destruction of the Schola Armaturarum in early November and further collapses in recent days.

The monitoring mission will identify threats to any other structures and advise on measures, including legal provisions, to stop further incidents. Their findings, along with analysis of any impact of the collapses on the site’s status as a World Heritage Site, will be presented during the next session of the World Heritage Committee in Bahrain next June.

The Schola Armaturarum is among the most emblematic buildings at the archaeological site of Pompeii, which was destroyed by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. It is thought gladiators used to train in the building before their fights in a nearby amphitheatre.

One of the other buildings affected by the collapses was the well-known House of the Moralist. An external wall there collapsed yesterday, with two more walls elsewhere on the site collapsing today, cueing concern about the state of the ancient Roman city’s preservation.

Pompeii was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1997, along with the neighbouring Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata. Their inscription states that they provide a complete and vivid picture of society and daily life at a specific moment in the past that is without parallel anywhere in the world.

 

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