Two ancient walls fell in different areas of Pompeii on Wednesday, probably the casualties of heavy rains. The collapses were the third and fourth in less than a month.
A staff member at the site said that the walls, a combination of ancient stone and mortar, did not contain frescoes. The interim Pompeii superintendent, Jeanne Papadopoulus, played down the latest collapses, noting in a statement that such occurrences were “possible in the life span of a vast, 2,000-year-old archaeological site, especially considering the weather conditions of recent days.” These new incidents “should not generate any alarmism or sensationalism,” the statement said.
But Wednesday’s collapses at the ancient city engulfed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. are likely to fuel the polemics that have raged over the upkeep of the site ever since the so-called House of Gladiators crumbled in early November. The debate grew on Tuesday after a nearby wall fell. Critics say that the government has been remiss in overseeing and financing basic maintenance at the fragile site.