Cash troubles threaten Gladiator tomb

2012-12-19 22:19
The Via Flaminia in northern Rome where a mausoleum was found recently and believed to be the tomb of Marcus Nonius Macrinus, a general and statesman in the late second century AD. (Andreas Solaro, AFP)

The Via Flaminia in northern Rome where a mausoleum was found recently and believed to be the tomb of Marcus Nonius Macrinus, a general and statesman in the late second century AD. (Andreas Solaro, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Rome - The tomb of the Roman general who inspired the film Gladiator risks falling into oblivion despite a plea from Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe to save it, as recession-hit Italy struggles to preserve its archaeological jewels.

"It's incredibly sad, this is an extraordinary site. Its fate has caught the eyes of the world," said Daniela Rossi, head archaeologist on the dig that unearthed the tomb of Roman general Marcus Nonius Macrinus.

Rossi's team in 2008 uncovered fragments of the tomb under thick strata of mud and clay.

Their remarkable discovery of a stretch of ancient Roman road lined by tombs in an industrial wasteland outside Rome sparked four years of painstaking excavation and restoration projects, costing some €700 000.

But Italy's battle to stave off the debt crisis has seen the government impose austerity cuts which have shaved 20% off the budget for maintenance of Italy's ancient sites - from the Colosseum to Pompeii - since 2010, and funds for the tomb dig have dried up.

With an estimated €2m needed to finish cleaning up the site and protect it from air pollution and winter ice, the city said the only option was to rebury the tomb to preserve it.

The news sparked an online campaign by the American Institute for Roman Culture to keep it open, prompting Crowe - whose character in the 2000 film was based on the real-life Macrinus - to join the fight to save the tomb.

Crowe's appeal, Rossi said, was what forced the city to re-think its approach and the ruins will no longer be re-interred - though they are being covered up under protective fabric, with no guarantee that work at the dig will start again in the spring.

"It was media pressure which finally put a halt to the idea of reburying the site. Crowe's intervention was generous and I hope it has changed the tomb's future," Rossi said.

Via Flaminia

Next to the tomb, delicately-carved marble columns and terracotta tiles line a stretch of perfectly preserved Roman road -- the ancient Via Flaminia, which runs north along the Tiber river and bears the marks of the soldiers and merchants' carts which thundered in and out of the capital each day.

The land now belongs to the Bonifaci real estate group, which reportedly aims to build three luxury apartment blocks on the site, though it is considering "sponsoring a project to improve the area" around the tomb, which it would keep apart from the houses.

"We are in talks to try and secure funding from the landowners, but it's far from a done deal and we're not counting on being able to uncover the site again," Rossi said.

"They have at least promised that whatever happens, they will not build on top of it," she added.

Macrinus ruled swathes of what is now Central Europe and Turkey after a number of military victories under Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Unlike the film character, the successful general was not then made a slave and never became a gladiator under Aurelius's son Commodus.

Read more on:    russel crowe  |  italy  |  archaeology
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Cost & Management Accountant

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town Finance
R450 000 Per Year

Quantity Surveyor

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
DAV Professional Placement Group

Fitter & Turner

Western Cape
Helderberg Personnel cc

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your ideas may feel like a sea of thoughts swimming around every which way, and now you need to find something to contain them in...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.