Ancient Pompeii column tumbles

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A huge column in the garden of an ancient Roman villa at Pompeii was toppled in what officials said Wednesday was an act of vandalism.

"This isn't a simple act of vandalism, which, while bad enough, could be explained by ignorance," superintendent Giovanni Guzzo said, calling it "an act of intimidation."

Spokeswoman Francesca de Lucia said the force needed to topple the large column, which broke into at least five pieces, suggested that the perpetrators were trying to make a statement.

Authorities were investigating possible motives for vandalism, including disgruntled employees, but had not ruled out an accidental cause despite the effort needed to make the column fall, she said.

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