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Crumbling Walls in Pompeii Prompt Outrage

Mount Vesuvius with Pompeii
A look at Pompeii and Vesuvius today. (Image credit: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-231061p1.html"> Boris Stroujko </a>, <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/index-in.mhtml">Shutterstock</a>)

A wall collapsed in the ruins of Pompeii this week, just the latest incident in a series of preservation woes for the ancient city, Reuters reported.

Amid recent heavy rains and wind, a wall on one of the city's major streets crumbled, as did plaster on Pompeii's House of the Small Fountain, a building famous for its lavish frescoes.

Though the European Union has funded a 105 million euro ($140 million) restoration project at Pompeii, work at the site is only partially underway, with contract bids still being assessed, Reuters reported. Some archaeologists have pointed fingers at the Italian government for mismanaging the project.

"This is an incomprehensible delay," Italy's National Association of Archaeologists said in a statement, according to Reuters. "If culture is to be a priority in Italy we must start with Pompeii, now decimated by continuous collapses caused mainly by a lack of routine maintenance."

Pompeii was buried in ash from Mount Vesuvius after the volcano's devastating eruption in A.D. 79, preserving a snapshot of life at the tragic end of the Roman city.

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Megan Gannon
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.