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Russell Crowe helps preserve ‘Gladiator’ tomb

Workers search a site along the Via Flaminia in northern Rome where a mausoleum was found (AFP Photo / Andreas Solaro)
The recently unearthed tomb of the inspiration for the ‘Gladiator’ movie Roman general Marcus Nonius Macrinus has been saved by actor Russell Crowe. Italian authorities said they couldn’t afford to preserve the mausoleum and had to rebury it.

­The tomb of the general from the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius will be saved, at least for this winter, Le Monde reported.

The support of the New Zealand actor was decisive, after he launched the petition "Save the Gladiator's Tomb" with support from the American Institute of Archaeology.

The actor was among the first to sign it, and called on Italians to remember the outstanding achievements of their ancestors.

As a result, Roman authorities have agreed not to bury the tomb, but cover it instead.

A team of archaeologists unearthed fragments of the tomb near the Via Flaminia in Rome in 2008.

The burial place of the general who advised the Emperor features Latin inscriptions, as well as marble roof tiles and pillars.

The tomb had to undergo preservation works to keep it open. Up to $4million was reportedly needed to preserve the ancient site.

When the mausoleum was opened up its condition deteriorated due to air pollution.