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Reading Practice – Pompeii Thieves Claim Relics Are Cursed

Part 1 – Key Vocabulary

Relic (n) an object that has survived since ancient times.

  • There are many relics in the museum.
  • If you visit an ancient site, don’t disturb the relics.

Loot (n) stolen goods

  • The bank robber escaped but dropped his loot along the way.
  • The police didn’t find the guy, but they recovered the loot.

Artifacts (n) an object made by humans many centuries ago.

  • There are many artifacts in the museum.
  • It would be hard to sell stolen artifacts.

Cursed (adj/verb) having supernatural power to cause harm or punishment on someone

  • A voodoo doll is cursed.
  • The witch cursed the man and turned him into a frog.

Caught red-handed (verb) caught in the act of doing something bad.

  • Jack was caught red-handed stealing a laptop from his company.
  • Little Jimmy’s mom caught him redhanded eating cookies before dinner.

Make off with (verb) to escape with something stolen.

  • The bank robber made off with the loot.
  • We heard the VP of Tiffany made off with half a million dollars in jewelry.

Practice the Vocabulary

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    Part 2 – Read the Story

    Pompeii Thieves Claim Relics Are Cursed

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    Massimo Osanna is an official at the site in Pompeii, the Italian city buried by a volcanic eruption in the year 79AD. According to Osanna, it seems that a number of tourists who have stolen relics from Pompeii often send back their loot. Why? Well, they claim that some of these artifacts are cursed.

    Over the past several years, the site in Southern Italy has received around a hundred packages returning stolen relics, which are often accompanied by letters explaining that the items have brought the thieves bad luck. “They write that the stolen pieces have brought them nothing but trouble,” Osanna said. “They say they can trace back all their family troubles to their theft at Pompeii.” A person from Spain returned five packages containing stolen items, including a bronze statue that went missing in 1987. The writer complained that the statue had put, “a curse on his entire family”.

    But sometimes they just regret the theft and feel guilty, added Osanna, who had a stolen mosaic tile – stolen in the 1970s – sent back to him by an English woman a few days ago. The white tile was still in excellent condition and had been taken from the site by the woman’s parents while they were on holiday. But after they died, the woman inherited the tile and felt it was time to do the right thing. Mr Osanna is thinking about setting up an exhibition of all the letters he has received. Osanna’s announcement comes after four French tourists were charged with theft after being caught red-handed trying to make off with pieces of Pompeii’s famous frescoes. He explained that the letters might be more interesting than the relics. He said: “It’s not that the stolen pieces are highly interesting or valuable. It’s more the letters.”

    Original Article: hhttps://www.thelocal.it/20151013/pompeii-thieves-claim-relics-are-cursed/

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