Showing results 13 - 24 of 34 for the month of February, 2008.

February 21, 2008

New Acropolis Museum to open in September

Posted at 1:48 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

More coverage of the planned opening date for the New Acropolis Museum.

Athens News Agency

Sioufas tours new Acropolis Museum

Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas toured the new Acropolis Museum on Wednesday and congratulated all the Greek governments from 1976 onwards for their efforts to build such a venue.

Sioufas, who was offered a guided tour of the museum by Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis, was accompanied by members of the parliament’s standing committee on cultural and educational affairs.
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New Acropolis Museum opening date set

Posted at 1:44 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

One can’t help feeling a slight sense of deja-vu when hearing news of the imminent opening of the Acropolis Museum. It seems now though that a date has been set for the full opening of it. Something that removes once & for all the British Museum’s arguments that the Elgin Marbles are better displayed in Britain & that the Greeks have nowhere to put them if they were returned.

Agence France Presse

New Acropolis museum set for September opening: minister
19 hours ago

ATHENS (AFP) — A new ultra-modern Acropolis museum located below the ancient Athens landmark will open in September, the Greek culture minister said Wednesday.

“In one month, we are to finish moving all the pieces from the old museum,” Michalis Liapis said during a visit to the site. That will allow the museum to be inaugurated in September, he said.
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February 19, 2008

Cambridge Union Elgin Marbles debate results

Posted at 2:55 pm in Elgin Marbles

The Cambridge Union yesterday held a much publicised debate on the subject: This House would return the Parthenon Marbles to the New Acropolis Museum in Athens. The results were as follows:

In favour: 117
Against: 46

This is a fairly conclusive result, improving on that of the Oxford Union debate in 2004 where the outcome was 133 for & 75 against.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that both these debates had great difficulty in finding people to speak against the motion.

February 14, 2008

Benin Bronzes

Posted at 2:29 pm in Similar cases

The Benin Bronzes in the British Museum are often highlighted when restitution cases are discussed. There are also numerous other institutions that hold artefacts from the ancient kingdom – often acquired in circumstances of similarly dubious legality.

Modern Ghana

By Dr. Kwame Opoku
Wed, 13 Feb 2008
Feature Article

Berlin, Berlin, Berlin, Benin bronzes burnt in Berlin? Berlin boasts 482 Benin bronzes but Benin bleeds badly.

“The restitution of those cultural objects which our museums and collections, directly or indirectly, possess thanks to the colonial system and are now being demanded, must also not be postponed with cheap arguments and tricks.”

Gert v. Paczensky and Herbert Ganslmayr, Nofretete will nach Hause. (1)
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February 13, 2008

The alarm of some institutions at growing numbers of restitution claims

Posted at 1:39 pm in Similar cases

The Boston Globe’s article on the restitution of artefacts, in particular the remarks of James Cuno have prompted a response from Kwame Opoku, where he points out some of the fallacies inherent in these arguments.


Written by Dr. Kwame Opoku
Tuesday, 12 February 2008

It is simply amazing how Eurocentric and selfish many of the arguments of the defenders of plunder and stealing of other people’s cultural property are. The opponents of restitution seem completely oblivious of the interests of countries trying to secure the return of their cultural objects that have been taken away by force or through dubious means.

At the risk of repeating some of the points I have already made elsewhere, I shall comment on a few points mentioned in the article in the Boston Globe, February 10, 2008 by Derek Bennett. It is often not easy to tell whether Bennett is presenting his own view point or simply reporting the views of others.
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February 11, 2008

Where will the restitution claims end

Posted at 2:06 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

This article puts forward the view, that some in the US museums establishment think the current wave of restitution claims is going to far. I would have thought though that amongst that particular group of individuals, many of them would consider any restitutions as a move to far. The fact remains though that guidelines need to be laid out to broadly define what can & can’t be returned – on the other hand, the museums would not be in this situation now if they had been more careful with determining the source of many of these pieces in the first place.

Boston Globe

Finders, keepers
As museums ship ancient treasures back to the countries where they were found, some are now saying: Enough.
By Drake Bennett
February 10, 2008

ON THE FIRST floor of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, in the early Greek art galleries, there is a long display case filled with Athenian ceramics. In one corner, partway up the linen backing, are two holes, a couple of inches apart, where a shelf holding a small, 2,500-year-old oil flask was once attached. Upstairs, in the Imperial Roman galleries, a group of marble busts and statues has been rearranged after the departure of a 6-foot-tall marble statue of the Roman empress Sabina. Ten Greek pots and one carved marble fragment from Imperial Rome are also gone from the museum’s collection.
more stories like this

All the pieces were given to the government of Italy, and are now part of a blockbuster exhibition, in Rome’s Quirinal Palace, made up entirely of pieces alleged to have been looted and smuggled out of Italy. The show’s title, “Nostoi” – from a lost epic poem recounting the perilous homeward voyages of Greek heroes after the Trojan War – is a nod to the labors of the Italian culture ministry and police, whose campaign of persistent arm-twisting, public criticism, and criminal prosecution secured the return of the 68 artifacts in the show, each now the property of the Italian government.
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Stealing the cultural heritage of others

Posted at 1:59 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku writes again on the issues of stolen artefacts, in particular, those that affect Africa.


Kwame Opoku on african stolen Artefacts
Written by Dr. Kwame Opoku
Friday, 08 February 2008

After reading a lot of books and articles on the question of restitution of cultural objects stolen or illegally exported, I was gradually coming to the conclusion that the taking of cultural objects of others was mainly practised by European nations or nations of mainly European descendants. I was rather uncomfortable with this conclusion since it goes against my general position that all human beings or at least all nations have the potential to behave along fairly similar lines.
I was therefore extremely happy to read in the third edition of Dr Jeanette Greenfield’s excellent book, The Return of Cultural Treasures (Cambridge University Press, 2007) that “Sometimes objects have also been peacefully and uncontroversially collected and bought. Such movements are a fascinating reflector of human history. Hardly a nation or tribe has remained untouched by this experience.”(p.xiii)
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Making culture exciting & forgetting about intellectual snobbery

Posted at 1:56 pm in Elgin Marbles

Stelios Hadji-Ioannou responds to Peter Aspden’s piece last week in the Financial Times about the incompatibilities between Easy Cruise & complex intellectual debates on the Elgin Marbles.

Financial Times

Forget the intellectual snobbery – just make culture exciting
Published: February 9 2008 02:00 | Last updated: February 9 2008 02:00

From Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Sir, I found Peter Aspden’s piece “A debate that could make you lose your marbles” (February 2/3) a little too elitist for this day and age. First, the only Socratic irony I have found so far is that I read this piece on the screen of my BlackBerry as I was leaving the new Acropolis museum in Athens. I had just received a sneak preview of this masterpiece by the chairman of the museum, Prof Dimitrios Pandermalis. I found him a man not only of vast knowledge and good humour but also surprisingly thoughtful on the Parthenon marbles debate. I think anyone would be happy to entrust one’s cultural heritage to someone like him.
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February 9, 2008

The trial of the tomb robbers

Posted at 2:16 pm in Similar cases

Italy is continuing their aggressive prosecution of those who have looted artefacts from the country, with what is billed as the biggest ever tomb robber trial, involving seventy defendants.

The Art Newspaper

Italy awaits biggest ever trial of tomb robbers
Operation Ghelas has uncovered a ring stretching across western Europe
Cathryn Drake
28.1.08 | Issue 187

ROME. Operation Ghelas, which has dismantled a major Italian antiquities smuggling operation stretching across Western Europe, will come to a climax in February when 70 defendants are brought before a judge for a preliminary hearing in Gela, southwest Sicily. The investigation, carried out by the Italian Cultural Patrimony Protection (TPC) squad, concluded last summer with an unprecedented 85 indictments and 52 arrests—the biggest bust ever of the tombaroli (“tomb raiders”).

Government officials, teachers and plumbers are among the suspects. Fifteen have already pleaded guilty to various charges, among them carabiniere Carmine Maschio, who admitted to driving loot across the Swiss-Italian border.
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February 8, 2008

Stelios responds to the Liverpool Echo

Posted at 2:05 pm in Elgin Marbles

Following strong criticism by the Liverpool Echo of his decisions to lend support to the campaign for the return of the Elgin Marbles, Sir Stelios Hadji-Ioannou responds personally, explaining the rationale behind his position on the issue.

Liverpool Echo

Your letters
8th February 2008


No trivial debate

I AM writing in response to Joe Riley’s column (ECHO January 31) entitled “Sorry Stelios, but you can’t have them back,” a feature on the cultural debate surrounding the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles.

Mr Riley states that I am “sponsoring a Cambridge University debate” when it is in fact one of my companies,
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Greece’s return of Albanian artefacts

Posted at 2:01 pm in Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum, Similar cases

More coverage from various sources of Greece’s return of stolen artefacts to Albania.

Bloomberg News

Greece Returns Two Stolen Marble Statues to Albanian Museum
By Maria Petrakis
Feb. 7 (Bloomberg)

Greece’s government returned two ancient statues stolen from Albania almost two decades ago.

The headless marble statues, one dating back to the 2nd century B.C. and the other to the 2nd century A.D., were handed to Albanian Culture Minister Ylli Pango in Athens today. They were recovered by the Greek authorities in 1997 and identified as having been stolen from the Butrint archaeological site in 1991.
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Greece returns stolen statues to Albania

Posted at 1:57 pm in Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

Greece is practicing what they preach with this latest move to return some stolen statues to Albania. This is in marked contrast to some of the actions by Italy in the past, where they seemed to apply tow different systems of reasoning to requests made to them by others & requests that they had made to others. Hopefully this will add ethical weight to their campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.

Athens News Agency

Stolen statues to Albania

Two ancient marble statues of Artemis and Apollo stolen from southern Albania in the ’90s were officially returned to Albania by the Greek state on Thursday, in a special ceremony held at the New Acropolis Museum. The two statues are to be returned to their natural environment in Butrint, southern Albania next week following an initiative by Greek Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis.

The marble statues had been found and confiscated by Greek authorities in 1997, when they were discovered in the hands of two private owners in Koropi, Attica. They were then handed over the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, which traced their origins to the artifacts stolen from Butrint.
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