Tourist detained for cutting tiles out of Pompeii mosaic

Posted by Christi Nortier on 10 April 2019

A 20-year-old female tourist has been detained by Italian police after being caught cutting tiles out of a floor mosaic in an ancient house in the World Heritage Site of Pompeii.

The House of Anchor is an archaeological site in the ancient Roman city and the tiles were behind a guard rail. The tourist climbed over the rail and used a tool to lift the tiles.

The tourist was visiting the site with her father and sister and was cited for ‘aggravated damage’ said Italian police, according to Sky News.

The site manager has estimated that more than R47 000 of damage was inflicted on the site.

The house is named after the anchor mosaic at the entrance to the house, which symbolizes the peace and safety the home gave to those who lived in it. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

The house is named after the anchor mosaic at the entrance to the house, which symbolises the peace and safety the home gave to those who lived in it. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

This is not the first time a tourist has tried to steal relics from the ancient city. Last year, a French tourist tried to leave the site with a backpack full of ancient artifacts. Sky News reported that the tourist was fined and given a suspended prison sentence.

According to the Telegraph, the site has received hundreds of packages filled with stolen artifacts and letters of apology.

Pompeii was a coastal city at the base of the volcano Mount Vesuvias, just over 20km from modern Naples. The volcano erupted almost 2,000 years ago and sent debris rushing down to the city, which was home to 20,000 people at the time.

This sudden event preserved the city under seven metres of ash and rock. It was protected for 17 centuries until excavation of the site began in 16th century. More than three million tourists visit the site each year to get a glimpse into the ancient world.

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Domus che continuano a delinearsi nella loro struttura completa, con affreschi preziosi, oggetti e tracce di vita quotidiana. E’ quanto sta avvenendo sul cantiere della Regio V degli scavi di Pompei, dove proseguono quotidianamente le scoperte di strutture e reperti. Una di queste ricche dimore è la casa di Giove, che sta emergendo con tutti i suoi ambienti decorati. La casa fu già in parte scavata tra Settecento e Ottocento e piuttosto compromessa in più punti da cunicoli e trincee, tuttora visibili, con i quali era in uso praticare gli scavi in epoca borbonica. Il nome della casa deriva da un quadretto raffigurante Giove rinvenuto già nell’800 su un larario posto nel giardino. L’intervento odierno sta via via profilando la pianta di una dimora con atrio centrale, circondato da stanze decorate, ingresso lungo il vicolo dei balconi, anche esso di recente scoperta e sul fondo uno spazio aperto colonnato su cui si affacciano altri tre ambienti. (Foto di Cesare Abbate) . . The complete structure of Domus continue to take shape, with precious frescoes, objects and traces of everyday life. Advances continue in Regio V of the Pompeii excavations, where discoveries of structures and finds continue to be made on a daily basis. One of these rich dwellings is the House of Jupiter, which is emerging along with all of its decorated rooms. The House was already partially excavated between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and somewhat compromised in various locations by still-visible tunnels and trenches which were dug as part of excavations in the Bourbon era. The name of the House derives from a small painting depicting Jupiter, which was discovered in the 19th century on a lararium located in the garden. The current intervention is gradually sketching out the plan of a dwelling with a central atrium, surrounded by decorated rooms, with an entrance along Vicolo dei Balconi – which was itself recently discovered – and an open colonnaded space at the back onto which three other rooms face. (Photographs by Cesare Abbate)

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Feature image: Graham Hobster.

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