Sensors and satellites deployed to save Pompeii

April 3, 2014
The House of Neptune seen in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii on March 18, 2014

Ground sensors and satellites will be deployed in a new bid to keep the ancient Roman city of Pompeii from crumbling following a series of recent collapses at the sprawling and long-neglected site near Naples.

Italian aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica on Thursday said it was donating the to the culture ministry in a 1.7 million euro ($2.3 million) project entitled "Pompeii: Give it a Future".

The main aims are to assess "risks of hydrogeological instability" at the sprawling site, boost security and test the solidity of structures, as well as set up an early warning system to flag up possible collapses.

Finmeccanica said the project would last three years and that the results of satellite monitoring of a network of wireless sensors installed around the Roman ruins would be made available via the Internet.

Security guards will be supplied with special radio equipment as well as smartphone apps to improve communication that can pinpoint their position and the type of intervention required, Finmeccanica said.

Much of the technology is being provided by Finmeccanica subsidiary Selex ES, which also supplies electronic warfare equipment and drones to the military.

"We are offering our technology for the service of the country and its heritage," Finmeccanica's chief executive Alessandro Pansa told reporters in Rome.

Pompeii is the second most visited archaeological site in Italy after the Colosseum and the Roman Forum in Rome, with around 2.5 million visitors every year.

Conservation workers last year began a 105-million-euro makeover of the UNESCO World Heritage landmark, funded by the European Union to the tune of 41.8 million euros.

The project is seen as crucial to the survival of Pompeii after a series of collapses at the 44-hectare site in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius—the volcano that destroyed the city in 79 AD.

Explore further: Radar deal paves way for new wireless system in Italy

Related Stories

Radar deal paves way for new wireless system in Italy

March 24, 2009

Italian defence firm Finmeccanica said Tuesday it had won a 260-million-euro (375-million-dollar) radar contract from the air force that will allow for cutting-edge WiMAX Internet technology in Italy.

Italy: More building collapses at Pompeii possible

November 8, 2010

(AP) -- More buildings inside the ancient Roman city of Pompeii could collapse, Italy's culture minister said Sunday, a day after a 2,000-year-old house once used by gladiators disintegrated into rubble.

Remains of man in armour found at 'Pompeii of Japan'

December 18, 2012

The remains of a high-caste man wearing armour who was buried by hot ash—possibly as he tried to calm the wrath of an erupting volcano—have been found in an area known as the "Pompeii of Japan".

Ancient Pompeii to get 105 mn euro makeover

February 6, 2013

The long-neglected Roman city of Pompeii will get a 105-million euro ($142-million) makeover partly funded by the EU starting on Wednesday, a day after former site managers were put under investigation for corruption.

Recommended for you

Four pre-Inca tombs found in Peru's Lima

November 27, 2015

Archaeologists in Peru have found four tombs that are more than 1,000 years old in a pyramid-shaped cemetery that now sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Lima, experts said.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.