Monday, July 26, 2010

Budget Woes Hit Italian Archaeology Hard

The Italian archaeological establishment is apparently due to take a large hit as part of government austerity measures aimed at addressing Italy's huge national debt. According to one report, the government will end funding to a host of research institutes, including the Institute for the History and Archaeology of Magna Graecia, based in Taranto, and the Italian Archaeological School in Athens.

There are also efforts afoot to privatize a huge range of government assets, including Rome's Villa Giulia, home to the National Museum of Etruscan Archaeology (and the Euphronios krater).

Some have already suggested that the cuts have gone too deeply and that a better solution would have been to merge institutions and limit privatization to less important cultural assets like beaches and ski resorts.

Italy and other archaeological powers like Greece have had to take such extreme measures due to economic dislocation associated with the global recession.

The impact of this news on the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' consideration of the renewal of the Italian MOU remains to be seen.

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