The Ancient History

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Discuss specific heritage and conservation issues faced by the Pompeii and Herculaneum sites today. “Just when Pompeii was being rediscovered, it began to die its second death” –Henry de Saint-Blanquat Ever since the first discoveries of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the late 16th Century, the towns have been exposed to many problems regarding preservation. The above quote by Henry de Saint-Blanquat reinforces the dire position of the towns since their discovery. These problems are caused by tourism, lack of financial support or consistent management, the environment, and previous damages done during the town’s violent disruption. However there are groups working to solve these problems. Tourism is a major problem in the conservation of these ancient towns. Flash photography, erosion from contact and perspiration, looting and general wear and tear form the 2.5 million visitors each year is having a harmful effect on the ruins. However, funding is received from tourism, so it is an essential factor. Groups have been set up to try to solve this problem. The Anglo-American Society has received funding from Hewlett Packard to develop virtual tours into the houses, preventing tourist entry. Giovanni Guzzo (president of the Archeaologie de Pompi) and his team are working on public education and awareness, and are turning tour guides around, providing relief for houses. Guzzo is quoted to have said that $US300 million would be needed to fully restore Pompeii and Herculaneum. Several steps have been taken towards solving this conservation issue. Pompeii’s addition to the UNESCO World Heritage list meant that in 1997 a financial autonomy was declared, meaning all revenue was given directly to Guzzo and his team. The next year, a suspension on any further excavations was declared, and finances would be given to restoration and preservation, rather than new excavations (an example of this is the half uncovered remains of the Villa of Papayrii in Herculaneum). Private sponsors...
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