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UNESCO to guide Pompeii restoration

Nov. 29, 2011 at 4:52 PM

POMPEII, Italy, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The United Nations says it will work with Italy to restore Pompeii, which was damaged by heavy rains last year.

Several key buildings at the famed Roman-era archeological site collapsed in November 2010, sparking concerns about the future conservation of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site.

In an agreement signed Tuesday, UNESCO said it would collaborate with Italian authorities during the next nine months on the restoration and ways to improve the conservation of the site. Italy will finance the restoration.

The site contains the vestiges of two cities and numerous villas that were buried in lava and ashes when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79 -- and were only discovered after excavations in the 18th century.

Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO assistant director general for culture, described the safeguarding of the Pompeii site as a "complex endeavor."

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