Tuesday, October 09, 2007

AN ARCHAEOLOGY TELETHON, plus more (Punic) Phoenicians in Europe:
Italy resorts to telethon to protect antiquities

Tom Kington in Rome
Monday October 8, 2007
The Guardian

Weighed down by the burden of restoring and protecting hundreds of crumbling archaeological and cultural sites, the cash-strapped Italian government has resorted to a direct appeal to Italians for contributions through a three-day TV telethon.

With the aim of raising €3.5m over the weekend, Italian opera singers, actors and conductors were enlisted to plead for cash in a stream of adverts on state broadcaster RAI, warning of dire consequences if sites such as the Palatine hill home of Emperor Augustus were not patched up.

Article continues
Launching the marathon fundraiser on Thursday the culture minister, Francesco Rutelli, told TV audiences of the dangers of leaving digs and monuments unprotected from tomb raiders in a country that boasts 41 Unesco designated sites but can only afford €300m of the €700m required for their annual upkeep.

To soaring music by Ennio Morricone, seven sites featured in rotating TV spots, including Augustus's villa where the frescos and flooring are decaying, the Sulky Punic necropolis in Sardinia, dating back to the fourth century BC, and an abandoned Norman fort near Cosenza.