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Archaeologists dig into ‘tomb raider’ Berlusconi

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s private conversations with an escort,which have riveted Italians all week,may wind up getting him into trouble....

Written by Reuters | Rome | Published: July 25, 2009 3:06:55 am

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s private conversations with an escort,which have riveted Italians all week,may wind up getting him into trouble with Italy’s archaeological authorities.

In one of the transcripts of his purported conversations with Patrizia D’Addario,Berlusconi boasts to her about his sprawling villa in Sardinia — complete with an ice cream parlor and artificial lakes.

“Here we found 30 Phoenician tombs from (around) 300 BC,” the voice is heard to say. The latest audio clip was posted on the website of L’Espresso weekly on Thursday and immediately raised the interest of the Opposition and the archaeological community.

Under Italian law archaeological discoveries made on private property must be reported to authorities for inspection,cataloguing and possible excavation.

Italian newspapers reported on Friday that cultural heritage authorities in Sardinia knew nothing about the sites,which archaeologists said would be a major find if confirmed. The Opposition Democratic Party demanded that either Berlusconi or Culture Minister Sandro Bondi address Parliament on the purported find and why it was not reported.

“We want to know if they exist or not and if so,whether they have been reported,” said Opposition parliamentarian Andrea Marcucci.

The national association of archaeologists said they did not know about the site,but that if it existed it could reveal many aspects of early civilisations on the Mediterranean island.

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