150 Sheep Support Pompeii Excavation Efforts by Eating Away Overgrown Weeds

Archeologists say this is a sustainable and low-cost way to make sure the structures aren't overtaken by nature.

It has been 250 years since restoration efforts began in the ancient city of Pompeii, and now, 150 hungry sheep are tasked to lend a helping hand.

The enormous flock of sheep was introduced to the Italian city as an effort to keep vegetation under control in Regio V, a massive part of the archaeological park that has yet to be uncovered.

Officials hope the sheep will eat away at the weeds and plants overcoming some of the structures in a sustainable and low-cost way to remove and prevent overgrowth without using poisonous chemicals.

The sheep are also meant to help visitors learn more about what Pompeii looked like in the past.

"It's also something that really gives an idea of how Pompeii was at the time when it was rediscovered. It was woods, vineyards, sheep and it was this kind of rural environment and in the midst of that you had Pompeii," said Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the director of the Pompeii archaeological park.

Only two-thirds of the 66-hectare site of Pompeii has been uncovered since excavations began.

Archaeologists hope that once Pompeii is fully restored, it will help researchers understand more about ancient Italian life from the town that was preserved in time by the Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD.

Related Stories