Ancient Pompeii site faces modern threats

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Nearly 2,000 years after it was buried and preserved under a volcanic eruption, the ancient Roman town of Pompeii is being steadily worn away by modern woes.

Decades of neglect, millions of trampling visitors and the ravages of sunlight and rain are threatening to wipe out for good one of the world's most famous archaeological sites and Italy's top tourist attraction.

Archaeologists and art historians have long complained about the poor upkeep of the Pompeii treasures, warning that its fading frescoes, leaky roofs and crumbling walls would not survive the test of time.

The 66-hectare site, of which two thirds have been uncovered since excavations began 250 years ago, offers a unique glimpse into everyday life in an ancient Roman town, frozen in time by the Mount Vesuvius eruption in AD 79.

But little has been done over the years to stop the decay, and many of the site's once glorious artifacts -- visited by 2.5 million tourists every year -- are simply disintegrating.

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