Blaze damages Olympia site

A fire at Ancient Olympia has done more damage than initially thought, the Culture Ministry admitted yesterday, saying that the roof had caved in on the German Archaeological Institute’s artifact storeroom. In a statement last night, the ministry said that part of a marble statue had been severely damaged and several other antiquities were in need of repair. «The state of the storeroom did not permit a thorough search,» the ministry said. Until last night, the ministry had denied that any artifacts had been damaged by the fire, which burnt trees around the stadium at Ancient Olympia but was stopped just short of the museum. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is said to be concerned about the damage to the site and might partly fund its restoration. The lighting of the flame for the Beijing Olympics is due to take place on March 25 and authorities now face a race against time to restore the site.