ARTS & CULTURE
12/01/2010 05:51 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Pompeii's Ancient Walls Continue To Collapse (PHOTOS)

After being covered by volcanic ash for hundreds of years, we thought Pompeii's tragic days had come and gone. Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, several walls of this iconic cultural and archeological landmark have been falling to the ground.

Within a matter of a few weeks, the House of Gladiators crumbled to the ground, a garden wall fell, and two ancient walls have collapsed. While officials say the collapses are a result of the heavy rain in recent weeks, the Italian government has been under fire for not taking proper care of the ancient ruins, and many political opponents are calling for the resignation of Culture Minister Sandro Bondi.

These collapsing walls are not just architectural forms- they are artifacts covered in unique paintings and frescoes that tell stories of ancient times. In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius volcano exploded, covering the town-city of Pompeii and it's inhabitants under a blanket of ash and pumice. For over 1,500 years, this ancient Roman city lay hidden under meters and meters of land, until, 1599, when workers accidentally ran into ancient walls covered with paintings while digging an underground channel to divert the river Sarno. This was only the beginning of one of the most important archeological discoveries of our time. The Romans hired architect Domenico Fontana to explore the area; after discovering more frescoes- whose sexual content shocked the Romans- Fontana decided to recover them, and leave them as untouched, in what has been deemed, an act of censorship. It was not until the mid 1700's that Pompeii and Heraculaneum, its sister city, were discovered by workmen again, beginning this long archeological trajectory.

Check out the slide show below for images of a crumbling Pompeii.