Peter Popham of Prospect Magazine asks:
Pompeii and Herculaneum have been listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites since 1997. So why isn’t the world’s culture policeman keeping the world’s most important Roman sites in order?
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Popham details the rapid decay of two of the richest and most important archaeological sites in Italy—including the virtual abandonment by the Italian government, and the efforts of a millionaire donor to make the sorts of structural repairs that forty years of neglect—and two million tourists a year—mean to an ancient site. Less than half of the 70 or so excavated buildings are open to tourists, or even safe to enter, since they are in advanced stages of decay.