Archaeology: Under the Peach Orchard

French builders have traditionally been plagued by lagging technology, rigid construction codes and indifferent workers. Now even their ancestors seem to be conspiring against them. Almost everywhere the builders excavate for foundations, it seems, they uncover new and exciting archaeological ruins that Minister of Culture André Malraux deems more important than any immediate construction.

In Nice, Malraux ordered that work on a new luxury apartment building be delayed to give archaeologists a chance to probe the remnants of a prehistoric village unearthed on the site. Last year he halted construction of an...

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