A flock of around 150 sheep in Southern Italy has been given the important task to save Pompeii.
All they have to do is graze the wild grass that has been threatening the conservation of the ancient ruins.
Instead of using machines, chemicals or substances, authorities have put in place a sustainable agricultural initiative to make sure the Roman town looks its best.
Apart from maintaining its exterior appearance, this economical approach also prevents the weeds from seeping into the cracks of the walls and thus destroying the fresco and houses.
“First of all, we save money by using sheep instead of machines and people who come here and use all kinds of tools. But then it’s also something which really gives an idea of how Pompeii was in the time when it was rediscovered,” Gabriel Zuchtriegel, Director of Pompeii Archeological Park, told Reuters. “It was woods, vineyards, sheep and it was this kind of rural environment and in the midst of that, you had Pompeii.”
Buried by the Mount Vesuvius eruption in AD 79, the historic city of Pompeii had been forgotten for centuries until excavations began some 250 years ago.
By bringing the sheep back to the area, the yet-explored part of Regio V now offers a lively sight that resembles the Pompeii that was just freshly rediscovered, Zuchtriegel said, adding that he hopes the initiative will help to bring in more visitors to enjoy the freshly-mowed site.
Local shepherds and their nameless heroes and heroines are also happy to be back in modern Pompeii.
“We have returned to the site of ruins once again and it is an honor to bring the sheep to graze here,” Gaspare de Martino, a shepherd, told Reuters.