From ANSA:

The Sicilian island of Pantelleria, midway to Africa, has yielded fresh Roman treasures that have spurred local officials to call for a full-fledged open-air archaeological park across the island .

"We've unearthed amphorae and urns in a necropolis that came to light during building work. The finds on the island have now reached a critical mass that makes an archaeological park imperative," said Sicilian culture chief Lino Leanza .

"With the prehistoric village of Mursia, the San Marco acropolis, the Punic-Roman shrine at the Lake of Venus and the late Roman settlement at Scauri, we have all the potential for putting the island on the world culture map," Leanza added .

He laid particular emphasis on a collection of marble Roman heads depicting Sicilian governors and emperors .

Pantelleria was a crossroads for all the major civilisations of the ancient world and this should be reflected by making it an open-air museum, the official argued .

Any such project would have to "take into account" the thousands of migrants who reach the stepping-stone island each year on their hopeful way to points north, he added .

But the art superintendent at the western Sicilian city of Trapani, which governs the island, is confident of getting government money to fund the project .

"My superintendency fully endorses the idea of a so-called territorial park stretching across Pantelleria," said the official, Giuseppe Gini .