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Discovery Halts Work Foundations of Tower of Pisa

September 8, 1995

PISA, Italy (AP) _ A discovery of underground pipes and concrete has halted efforts to shore up the leaning Tower of Pisa, the head of the international preservation team said Friday.

Expecting to find only dirt under the 12th-century tower, workers stumbled on a layer of concrete connected to the tower by two sets of steel pipes more than 2 1/2 inches wide and about one-eighth of an inch thick.

Michele Jamiolkowski, president of an international committee charged with caring for the tower, said work will be suspended until the committee evaluates the effect of the previous repairs and redesigns the current project.

There was no indication when work would resume.

Plans call for laying a ring of concrete to anchor 10 steel cables that would keep the tower stable. Previously, 1,000 tons of lead were used as counterweights to bring the 180-foot tower toward center.

The concrete and pipes _ an effort to widen the base of the tower _ are not mentioned in records, Jamiolkowski said in a written statement.

Claudio Bardelli, 55, the head custodian who has watched over the tower for the past 40 years, estimated the repairs must be at least 80 to 90 years old.

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