8 December 2012 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Marcus Nonius Macrinus's mausoleum near Rome is latest victim of 20% funding cuts for archaeological sites

On its discovery in 2008, it was hailed as one of the most significant Roman finds in decades. Digging down between the railway line and mechanics' workshops where the Tiber winds its way north out of Rome, archeologists found the remains of a 45ft high structure fronted by four columns. This was what was left of the luxurious tomb of Marcus Nonius Macrinus, the swaggering Roman general whose ceaseless campaigning in the 2nd century helped inspire Russell Crowe's film Gladiator.

But now cuts mean the tomb may be buried all over again, according to Rome's extremely unhappy state superintendent for archaeology. "I fear we are going to take into serious consideration the idea of protecting these sensational finds by re-covering the entire site with earth," said Mariarosaria Barbera.

Today, Macrinus's last resting place – in an »

- Tom Kington

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