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Home Culture A tourist scribbles his signature with a marker on a frescoed wall in the ancient city of Herculaneum | Culture

A tourist scribbles his signature with a marker on a frescoed wall in the ancient city of Herculaneum | Culture

by News Room
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A Dutch tourist has scribbled his signature with an indelible marker on a frescoed wall of a Roman-era house in the archaeological park of the ancient city of Herculaneum, in Italy, buried by the volcano Vesuvius next to Pompeii in the year 79. The author He is 27 years old and was on vacation in Campania, a southwestern region of the country known for its ruins and archaeological sites. He scribbled a wall covered in stucco and with remains of a fresco that adorned one of the old domus of the ancient city.

The security forces were alerted on Sunday night, identified the offender and filed a complaint against him for damaging and defacing artistic works, local media reported this Monday.

The site of Herculaneum is one of the most precious and visited archaeological sites in Italy, which is still being excavated and discovered. Its director, Francesco Sirano, described it as “an open-air archaeological laboratory.” In the 1980s, researchers found remains of about 300 people who had taken refuge during the eruption of Vesuvius in warehouses near the sea and were burned to death by a wave of 500-degree gas. This is the largest concentration of skeletons from antiquity that has survived to the present.

The neighboring city of Pompeii is better known and visited for that catastrophe, but both sites are listed as World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Herculaneum, located south of modern-day Naples, was a coastal city where rather wealthy sectors of Roman society resided. The first remains of the ancient city were discovered at the beginning of the 18th century, after the excavation of a well.

It is not the first vandalization in recent times of archaeological and historical monuments in Italy. Last year several cases were known. In one of the most high-profile cases, a foreign tourist engraved his name and that of his girlfriend on one of the walls of the Colosseum in Rome, the most visited building in Italy and also a World Heritage Site. The author recorded the moment in a video spread on social networks that generated outrage. In the same 2023, an attack on one of the best preserved prehistoric parietal art figures from the Leonese complex of Peña Piñera, dated about 4,000 years ago, in the Bronze Age, was reported. One of the paintings that makes up the cave complex of about 900 meters long, declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, was scratched with a stone.

Also from that year is the attack on the historic cross in the Plaza de Santa Marta in Seville, a piece designed by the Renaissance architect Hernán Ruiz II in 1564. The marble, sandstone and brick sculpture was smashed to pieces. Fines in Spain for attacking an Asset of Cultural Interest can range from 6,000 euros for causing serious damage to property in Galicia to more than one million euros for doing the same in Aragon.

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