Russell Crowe has teamed up with leading historians to urge Italian authorities not to abandon the tomb of the Roman warrior who inspired his film Gladiator.

The Les Miserables star was the first person to sign a new American Institute for Roman Culture petition calling for further preservation of the recently unearthed final resting place of Marcus Nonius MACrinus.

The Italians playing guardian to the 2008 find outside Rome were planning to rebury the mausoleum and other tombs because they could no longer afford to maintain the site, according to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, but it appears Crowe's efforts have forced them to reconsider.

Local government officials have now agreed to temporarily cover the site to protect it from the elements.

Daniela Rossi, who unearthed the ruins, claims Crowe's interest in the tomb of the gladiator that inspired his movie epic forced the authorities to halt reburial plans.