The Eternal Problem of Funding Pompeii

The task of managing, studying and excavating Pompeii has elicited criticism since the King of Naples hired a Spanish military engineer named Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre in the 18th Century. Given the rains, funding pressures, and the army of tourists, controversy has again flared, this time over the funding of an archaeological survey that may be be wholly unnecessary:

The three-year study, entitled “Pompeii, Fabbrica della Conoscenza” (“Pompeii, the Knowledge Factory”), was carried out using the most advanced technology, according to Carmine Gambardella, dean of the faculty of architecture at the Second University of Naples (Aversa). “After the collapse of the House of Gladiators, we flew over the excavations with the Guardia di Finanza, using an infrared thermal sensor to locate at-risk areas and so redraw a map of the site,” said Gambardella. The ministry-approved survey, therefore, amounts to a costly “repeat performance”. The cultural affairs branch of the Italian Labour Union has reported the matter to the public prosecutors of Torre Annunziata, Naples and Rome, calling for transparency in the awarding of such public contracts.

  1. Edek Osser, Controversy over Pompeii funding | The Art Newspaper (2011), http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Controversy+over+Pompeii+funding/24455 (last visited Sep 20, 2011).
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