From the Scotsman:

Bomb disposal experts today detonated a 250lb World War II bomb unearthed near the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Pompeii, a police official said.

Residents and tourists were forced to evacuate the area. The archaeological site remained closed for the day, Pompeii’s archaeological office said.

The British-made bomb, discovered last week during construction works on a road near the ruins, was detonated after a wall of earth had been constructed around it to cushion the impact of the explosion, a police official in Pompeii said.

The bomb was located some 490ft from the entrance to the ruins of the Roman city, which was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79.

Authorities evacuated 120 people from the area, including a group of tourists from a nearby camp site, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Controlled explosions of WWII bombs are common in Italy.

On Tuesday, around 5,000 people were temporarily evacuated from the coastal town of Formia – 71 miles south of Rome – while experts detonated another British-made bomb dropped during the war.

What the heck were the British dropping bombs near an archaeological site for? Then I find at a U.S. Air Force history site (inter alia):


Twelfth AF

Elements of British Eighth Army enter Bari. At Salerno, US Fifth Army, throwing reserves and serv troops into line, and receiving much naval and air spt, holds off enemy onslaughts against beachhead. XII BC B-17's, B-25's, and B-26's attack highways, road j unctions and defiles, bridges, town areas, railroads, M/Y, barracks, and numerous T/Os, including several gun positions, in or near Avellino, Pompeii, Torre Annunziata, Auletta, Baronissi, San Severino Rota, Battipaglia, and Eboli. US and RAF FBs, LBs, and MBs of NATAF fly well over 500 sorties, mainly against roads, bridges, and towns in battle areas, in or around Battipaglia, Eboli, Potenza, Torre Annunziata, Benevento, Auletta, and Avellino. Troop transports drop more contingents of 82d Airborne Div S of Sele R to strengthen beachhead, and also behind enemy lines near Avellino to disrupt enemy comm.