Quote of the Day

It ought to be borne in mind that it is not dignified in a great nation to reap profit from halftruths and half-rights; honesty is the best policy – and honesty in the case of the Elgin marbles means restitution.

C.P. Cavafy, Greek poet

The reunification of the Elgin Marbles & other disputed artefacts

The Parthenon Sculptures (also called Parthenon Marbles or Elgin Marbles) are split between several museums. Despite numerous similar cases of contested ownership of cultural property, few loan or return requests are successful. Elginism aims to raise awareness by publicising the issue & cataloguing news on it, as well as working in conjunction with various campaigns including Marbles Reunited, & the IARPS.
To track the latest news updates, you can also follow Elginism on Twitter or Facebook.

April 4, 2017

Could Brexit present an opportunity to return the Parthenon Marbles?

Posted at 1:29 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Britain has the perfect opportunity to do the right thing and resolve differences in the coming months

The Parthenon Marbles is one of many outstanding international issues that the UK has with other EU countries. If they are going to proceed with exiting the EU, then resolving such issues may well pave the way for greater concessions argues Geoffrey Robertson.

Part of the Parthenon frieze in the British Museum

Part of the Parthenon frieze in the British Museum

From:
Guardian

Let’s do a Brexit deal with the Parthenon marbles
Geoffrey Robertson
Tuesday 4 April 2017 08.30 BST

Not yet a week since the triggering of article 50, and already hope of cordial negotiations seems optimistic. At the weekend, amid early jostling over the post-Brexit fate of Gibraltar, former Tory leader Michael Howard implied that one way to resolve that situation could be a war with Spain.

Thus far, the focus has been on the politics, the pounds, shillings and euros and the colour of passports, but in the search for common ground it’s worth remembering that the European Union treaty itself, in articles 3 and 167, places a duty on both sides in negotiations to take into account the need to “ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced”. Here there is scope for a gesture that may allow talks to proceed more constructively.
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March 14, 2017

The continuing campaign for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:06 pm in Elgin Marbles, International Association

Recent efforts by the IARPS in the fight for restitution

Below is a media release from the IARPS, detailing recent initiatives in the campaign to return the Parthenon Sculptures.

MEDIA RELEASE
More than 200 years after Lord Elgin infamously removed approximately half of the iconic sculptures from the Parthenon and eventually sold them to the British Government, the campaign for their return has been waged by Philhellenes around the world.

The Greek Government has now resolved to renew and intensify its efforts for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures following an extensive consultation and co-ordination meeting between Professor Louis Godart, the newly-elected Chairman of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures (IARPS)1, and the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Prokopios Pavlopoulos and the Greek Minister of Culture and Sport, Ms Lydia Koniordou. Also present were the Secretary-General of the Presidency of the Republic, Ambassador George Yennimatas, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Culture, Ms Maria Vlazaki, the Advisor on Cultural Affairs to the Presidency of the Republic, Ms Sophia Hiniadou Cambanis, together with the members of the Special National Advisory Committee for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures and senior representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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February 19, 2017

TourismA 2017 in Florence

Posted at 12:07 am in Events

Parthenon Marbles round table discussion to form part of cultural tourism conference

The TourismA 2017 conference is taking place in Florence at present. As part of Sunday morning’s programme, there is a round table discussion on the Parthenon Sculptures, the campaigns for their return, how individuals can get involved and the practicalities of resolving the issue.

I will be attending as one of the panelists.

If you are in the area, please drop in to join the discussion.

To find out more about the event, please visit the official site for the exhibition.

TourismA exhibition, Florence

TourismA exhibition, Florence

November 22, 2016

New finds from wreck of Elgin’s ship off Kythera

Posted at 9:05 am in Elgin Marbles, Events

Lecture at Kings College London by Dimitris Kourkoumelis

Dimitris Kourkoumelis is giving a talk this evening organised by the Greek Archaeological Committee UK at Kings College London on new finds on the wreck of the Mentor off the island of Kythera. The Mentor was of course one of the ships used by Lord Elgin to transport the Parthenon Marbles back to the UK from Greece. It sank in a storm and the sculptures had to be retrieved the following year by sponge divers from Kalymnos.

Underwater excavations of The Mentor off Kythera

Underwater excavations of The Mentor off Kythera

From:
Kings College London

Greek Archaeological Committee UK Annual Lecture
Locatio Great Hall, King’s Building, Strand Campus
Category: Lecture, Other
When: 22/11/2016 (19:00-20:30)
Contact: This event is open to all and free to attend. Booking is not required.

Please direct enquiries to chs@kcl.ac.uk.
Recent research and new finds from the MENTOR shipwreck at Cythera (1802)

The recent archaeological expeditions (2009, 2011-15) conducted by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities at the wreck of the brig Mentor, which sank in 1802 off Kythera, have been focused mainly on excavating the section of the hull that is still well preserved, as well as collecting information about the passengers, the crew and the cargo of the ship. The brig, owned by Lord Elgin, was transporting some of the antiquities and sculptures taken from the Acropolis monuments, and sank off the small port of Avlemonas in September 1802. From the 19th to the 21st century, there have been several underwater investigations on the wreck undertaken with the aim to discover the “marble” sculptures, which, according to rumour, should still remain at the site.
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October 6, 2016

RIP Professor Norman Palmer

Posted at 8:18 am in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

A great mind, as a barrister he defended numerous cultural property cases

I was very sad to hear yesterday of the death of Professor Norman Palmer.

I have met him numerous times, both at conferences and other events relating to cultural property restitution, as well as sitting on the opposite side of the table from him, as part of the group interviewing a team about their suitability for representing Greece in the case to reunify the Parthenon Sculptures.

Readers of this site may be most familiar with him as part of the team with Geoffrey Robertson and Amal Clooney that met with the Greek Government in 2014. Palmer was also well known within the sphere of cultural property restitution for chairing the Human Remains Working Group, whose work eventually led to the change in UK law allowing the repatriation of human remains to indigenous peoples in Australia and elsewhere.

He advised governments and international bodies on the drafting of new cultural property laws and was instrumental in the resolution of various cultural property disputes. He was also a great supporter of mediation and other out of court settlement methods for cultural property disputes.

Immensely knowledgeable, Norman’s academic credentials added gravitas to any team he was a part of. He will be sadly missed.

Professor Norman Palmer QC

Professor Norman Palmer QC

From:
Institute of Art and Law

In Memoriam – Norman Palmer QC CBE
Posted on: October 5, 2016 by Alexander Herman

We are sad to announce that the Institute of Art & Law’s Academic Principal, Norman Palmer QC (Hon) CBE, has passed away. Norman was the guiding light of this organisation ever since its beginnings over twenty years ago. Along with his wife, Ruth Redmond-Cooper, he made the IAL what it is today. He provided countless hours of instruction to hundreds of students and will no doubt be sorely missed by all. His wisdom and intellectual curiosity led to the publication of foundational tomes, including Palmer on Bailment, Art Loans and Museums and the Holocaust, as well as dozens of articles in the area of art and cultural property law.

And some more details about him and his career.
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September 9, 2016

Mock Trial : Greece vs UK – The Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 1:17 pm in Elgin Marbles, Events

A moot court is being held at Monash University in Melbourne to discuss the issue

A moot court (AKA mock trial) is being held at Monash University in Melbourne. The title is: Greece v UK: The Parthenon Marbles Case. The event is jointly organised by the Hellenic Australian Lawyers Association (HAL) and Monash Law School.

Please the link here to reserve tickets if you are planing on attending.

Greece V UK - The Parthenon Marbles Case moot court flyer

Greece V UK – The Parthenon Marbles Case moot court flyer

From:
Trybooking

HAL (VIC) – Greece v UK: Parthenon Marbles Case
19 Oct 2016

Description

Greece v UK: The Parthenon Marbles Case – moot court and panel discussion

This year marks 200 years since the British Government controversially purchased the Parthenon Marbles from Lord Elgin and displayed them in the British Museum. The longstanding legal and diplomatic dispute about who owns them – Greece or the UK – continues to this day.
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Talk by Dr Tom Flynn on the Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 1:04 pm in Elgin Marbles, Events

Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles: breaking the deadlock?

Dr Tom Flynn of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles is giving a talk at the University of Geneva on 15th September. The talk is titled: The reunification of the Parthenon marbles and the role of cultural diplomacy in breaking the deadlock – Will we have to wait another 200 years?.

Find out more at the Facebook page for the event here.

Flyer for talk at University of Geneva by Tom Flynn

Flyer for talk at University of Geneva by Tom Flynn

From:
Event Facebook page (google translated)

Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles: breaking the deadlock?
15 September at 19:00–21:00
Université de Genève – Uni Bastions

As part of the British Parliament’s vote bicentennial deciding to entrust the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum, the Swiss Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles is pleased to invite you to the conference at the Law Centre of the art of the University of Geneva and the European Centre culture:

“The reunification of the Parthenon marbles and the role of cultural diplomacy in breaking the deadlock – Will we have to wait another 200 years?”
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September 2, 2016

Export bans – is Britain a cultural one way street?

Posted at 1:13 pm in Similar cases

Why do we feel other countries should share their culture, but then place bans on the export of our own

Institutions like the British Museum, along with much of the British Press, regularly denounce as cultural nationalism, claims by countries such as Greece and Egypt that looted artefacts should be returned. These countries are castigated for not sharing and they should be proud of the fact that other countries want their heritage, rather than seeing it as something that they want to retain.

When there is a chance of important British works ending up in foreign collections however, we regularly place export bans on them. While we encourage others to share, we are unwilling to do so ourselves. The situation is even more perverse than it first appears though -while the British items up for export are invariably up for sale in a public auction at the request of the current owner, many of the items that others ask to be returned were seized in times of war, or looted and then smuggled into the country without any permission being given.

Every few years a major export ban crops up in the news. Often, it is not even for a work that was originally British (such as the Picasso in the examples below), but something that we happened to acquire and would like to hang on to. We see something’s existence in Britain as making it a part of our culture, but we decry others for far lesser requests.

Queen Victoria's coronet, currently subject to an export ban

Queen Victoria’s coronet, currently subject to an export ban

From:
BBC News

Export ban placed on Queen Victoria’s wedding coronet
28 August 2016

A temporary export ban has been placed on a sapphire and diamond coronet that belonged to Queen Victoria, preventing it from being sold abroad.

The coronet, designed by Prince Albert for their wedding in 1840, is at risk of being exported unless a UK buyer matches the £5m asking price.
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Elginism is now on Instagram

Posted at 12:43 pm in Elgin Marbles

An expanded social media presence

Elginism is now on Instagram.

So, if you use Instagram, why not follow us at @parthenonmarbles.

At the moment, I’ve just uploaded some old images previously posted on Twitter, but there will be more to follow soon.

As a reminder – you can also follow Elginism on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest too, to make sure you don’t miss the latest news on the Parthenon Marbles and the campaigns for their return. Because its quick to do, I often end up posting on Facebook and Twitter before creating a proper blog post here about developing news items.

August 16, 2016

Parthenon restoration focus shifts to west pediment

Posted at 1:37 pm in Acropolis

A new phase in the ongoing CCAM restoration of the Acropolis site in Athens

Further coverage of the next phase of restoration work on the west pediment of the Parthenon.

The West end of the Parthenon

The West end of the Parthenon

From:
CTV News (Canada)

Parthenon to get a boost as part of Greek Acropolis restoration
AFP
Published Friday, August 5, 2016 8:09AM EDT

Restoration work on Athens’ Acropolis is set to shift to the west side of the Parthenon under a 40-year-long effort to restore the ancient archaeological monument, officials said Thursday.

“Most of the restoration work was completed in 2015, whereby we fixed the most important and urgent problems,” the head of the operation Vassiliki Eleftheriou told AFP.
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India’s mixed approach to their disputed artefacts abroad

Posted at 1:13 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Although many would like them returned, others take a certain pride in the way they have been preserved overseas and feel that they are perhaps better looked after there

This article sums up something that I have noticed hinted at in various previous articles and more specifically in comments on twitter.

Within Britain’s largest museums, there are huge collections of artefacts that were acquired from India in a range of circumstances, some more questionable than others. Many in India justifiably want some of these artefacts returned. Many more however, see the well preserved state of the artefacts in the UK as a contrast to the lacklustre state of many museums in their own country. Still more do not trust the motives of politicians, who they feel want items returned only for nationalist reasons.

I think a lot of the ambivalence to restitution of Indian artefacts perhaps stems from the distrust many have of the government there – endemic corruption potentially puts the items at greater risk if they are returned home. In a perfect world though, when these issues are solved, I would hope that more in India would want to also reclaim their heritage.

Detail from the Amravati Stupa in the British Museum

Detail from the Amravati Stupa in the British Museum

From:
Indian Express

British museums shine thanks to all the loot from India
Adrija Roychowdhury
Published on:August 15, 2016 12:41 pm

In Britain, a museum visitor from India is suddenly made aware of how his or her past has brutally been ripped away and appended to British history, now on display for tourists from around the world to gloat over.

I first stepped onto the streets of London in the summer of 2015 as part of research work for my Masters thesis. An apt way to describe the city would be to call it a snippet of a dream carefully plucked out from a history book. For someone who was enthralled by the magnificence of British history, London was everything I had read and heard about all my life.
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August 4, 2016

Restoration work to start on the Parthenon’s west pediment

Posted at 1:22 pm in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology

The long running Acropolis programme of works on the Acropolis site enters a new phase

The current restoration of the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis has been ongoing for many years now. This week, the go-ahead has been given by the Central Archaeological Council for works to proceed on the West Pediment.

You can read more about the proposals (in Greek) here.

The West end of the Parthenon

The West end of the Parthenon

From:
Greek Reporter

Restoration Work on Parthenon’s Western Pediment to Begin
By Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi –
Aug 4, 2016

The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) approved on Wednesday two projects for the restoration of the upright marble slabs and background wall of the drum which form part of Parthenon’s western pediment.

According to the researchers who presented the two studies, the work involves rescue interventions aimed at dealing with the problems found by restorers in that section of the pediment – mainly cracks formed by various causes. In the future, the studies could be used to evaluate whether it would be useful to add material in place of the two missing slabs, they said.
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