Showing results 1 - 12 of 30 for the month of October, 2008.

October 31, 2008

New Earthquake sensors on the Acropolis

Posted at 2:25 pm in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology

Works on the Acropolis Restoration will include the installation of new sensors to measure the effects of earthquakes on the monuments.

Associated Press

Scientists to measure quake effect on Acropolis
By ELENA BECATOROS – 58 minutes ago

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — For thousands of years the Acropolis has withstood earthquakes, weathered storms and endured temperature extremes, from scorching summers to winter snow.

Now scientists are drawing on the latest technology to install a system that will record just how much nature is affecting the 2,500-year-old site. They hope their findings will help identify areas that could be vulnerable, allowing them to target restoration and maintenance.
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Scaffolding to come off Propylaia

Posted at 2:13 pm in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

Some parts of the restoration works on the Acropolis will be completed in the coming months, allowing visitors their first sight of parts of the building for some years without scaffolding in the foreground. As part of the project, a virtual reality presentation on the history of the restoration work is planned for the New Acropolis Museum, so that visitors can get a better understanding of what is one of the most complex projects of its kind ever undertaken.

Athens News Agency

Acropolis restoration works

Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Thursday inspected works for the restoration of the Athens Acropolis, after which he praised the effort underway.

“The work to preserve and highlight the monuments provides a unique experience for visitors to the Sacred Rock, since a more comprehensive image of the Acropolis is formed that allows the monuments to be better recognised and understood,” he said.
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October 30, 2008

The comercialisation of the British Museum

Posted at 3:05 pm in British Museum

The British Museum has in recent years made much of its global reputation, arguing that it represents the best place for artefacts such as the Elgin Marbles to be seen in the context of artefacts from other cultures. From these recent letters in The Times though, it would appear that not everyone is completely sold on the current approach taken by the Museum.

The Times

October 27, 2008
British Museum gripe
Commercialisation of British Museum needs to be stopped

Sir, Passing the British Museum last Thursday, I decided to pop in during normal opening hours. What an awful shock. Tickets for the Hadrian exhibition had sold out, and when I tried to visit the Reading Room it was shut — because the Hadrian exhibition was in there. When I asked when the Reading Room would be open again I was told perhaps in 2012.

It turns out that this famous iconic heart of the British Museum, recently restored at public expense, has been hidden and refitted as exhibition space. Why? Because so much exhibition space has been handed over to shops and cafés.
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October 29, 2008

The New Acropolis Museum awaits the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:03 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

The New Acropolis Museum represents Greece’s most ambitious attempt to reclaim the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum.


New Acropolis Museum ready for Marbles
By Eleni Gage
29 October 2008

It’s an incongruous sight: a super-modern, glass-walled building set at the foot of the ancient Acropolis.

But while the New Acropolis Museum, designed by New York-based architect Bernard Tschumi, may appear to defy Athens’s great history, it is, in fact, the city’s most ambitious attempt to reclaim its cultural patrimony: built to hold archaeological finds spanning 2,500 years, including the absent Elgin Marbles (portions of the Parthenon frieze), which the Greek government has been trying to recover from the British Museum since the mid 1800s.
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October 27, 2008

The ethics of museum acquisitions

Posted at 2:00 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

In recent years, peple have started to ask more & more questions about how museums have acquired some of the artefacts in their collections. It is also clear that some of the museums are finding themselves in very uncomfortable situations because of this.

Kansas City Star

Posted on Sat, Oct. 25, 2008
Ethical questions haunt museums’ acquisition of antiquities
The Kansas City Star

W hen the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art announced last year that it had acquired a colorful, ancient Egyptian coffin, officials presented a small sheaf of paperwork affirming that all was on the up and up.

This was no back-door, black-market deal involving improperly exported cultural patrimony, the documents were meant to say.
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Why Britain must re-think the Parthenon Marbles issue

Posted at 1:54 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The British Museum continues to hang onto the Elgin Marbles, but many in Greece are now suggesting that the 2012 Olympics in London should be used a a deadline for return, with the Olympic flame being handed over in exchange for the Marbles.

American Chronicle

Britain must rethink the case of Parthenon Marbles Restitution
Nicolas Mottas
October 26, 2008

It was in 1801 when the then British ambassador in Constantinople, Thomas Bruce (the known as Lord Elgin), obtained a firman from the Ottoman authorities taking permission to remove sculptures from the Athens’ Parthenon.

Two centuries later – in fact 207 years later – the British capital, London, is preparing to host the 30th Olympiad in 2012. The ancient masterpieces of the Parthenon still remain in the British Museum, around 2440km far from their original place, as long as the Greek demand for the Marbles restoration has been collided to the years-long denial of the Museum’s administration. However, two facts create a new dynamic in favour of the campaign for the restitution of the Parthenon sculptures: the construction of the New Acropolis Museum and the 2012 London Olympics.
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October 24, 2008

The battle over the stolen treasures of the ancient world

Posted at 1:46 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

A new book by Sharon Waxman looks at how many museums of the West have relied heavily on looted artefacts to build up their collections, even in comparatively recent times.


Book Review
Karl E. Meyer on Sharon Waxman’s ‘Loot’
Posted on Oct 24, 2008
By Karl E. Meyer

I devoured “Loot: The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World” with particular zest, having published in 1973 an earlier account of the same cultural underworld, “The Plundered Past.” A seasoned reporter with an Oxford degree in Middle East studies, Sharon Waxman has updated and surpassed my explorations, in part because the outcry over the illicit traffic has reached fever pitch, provoking voluble, angry and indiscreet utterances from curators, collectors, dealers and a new breed of watchdogs, viz.:

“You end up thinking we’re all a bunch of looters, thieves, exploiters, that we’re some kind of criminals … but who would be interested in Greek sculpture if it were all in Greece? These pieces are great because they’re in the Louvre.” So protests Aggy Leroule, the Louvre’s press attaché, and so complain directors, trustees and publicists at the many great temples of art and archaeology. Yet there are also dissidents, an unlikely example being Thomas Hoving, once the acquisition-obsessed director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and now a fallen Lucifer who recalls, almost with relish, his prevarications past.
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Chronicles of Mann to remain victims of anti-deaccessioning laws

Posted at 12:57 pm in Similar cases

The anti-deaccessioning laws that govern the British Museum & many of Britain’s other national museums & galleries are a consistent source of frustration for those pursuing restitution claims. Despite some loosening of the laws & other proposed changes, the regulations set out in the Acts of Parliament that govern these institutions stop most restitution claims from ever being properly considered.

The usual answer given is that whether or not they (the institution in question) wanted to return the artefacts, the law would not let them do so. This always seems like a bit of a smoke screen though – it is rare to see them suggesting that these laws are changed & one wonders what the next excuse would be once this barrier would be removed. On the other hand, as public opinion has shifted, the return of human remains has become a relatively accepted practise.

The case discussed below is also interesting, as it is a nominally intranational case in the same was as the Lindisfarne Gospels & the Lewis Chessmen.


Published Date: 23 October 2008
Chronicles won’t be coming home

ONE of the most important Manx historical documents will remain in the ownership of the British Library for the forseeable future, Chief Minister Tony Brown announced in Tynwald this week.
Enquiries had been made by the Manx government about the Chronicles of Mann being returned to the Island but hope was dashed because the British Library is legally obliged to keep its artefacts.

‘The ultimate aim was to have the Chronicles of Mann returned to the Isle of Man,’ Mr Brown said.
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Exhibition of polychromatic Greek sculpture replicas

Posted at 12:42 pm in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology

Despite attempts to publicise the fact that most classical Greek sculptures were originally coloured, in the eyes of the public, they are still very much perceived as pristine & white. Nowhere has this problem of misconstrued opinion been more apparent, than in the 1930s cleaning of the Elgin Marbles under the instruction of Lord Duveen.

A new exhibition in Germany hopes to change people’s understandings of the sculptures, with numerous coloured reconstructions to give people a better idea of how they might have originally looked.


Friday, October 24, 2008
Gods in Color Opens at Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung

FRANKFURT.- Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung presents Gods in Color, on view through February 15, 2009. Antique marble sculpture was not white, but colored. This is amply and overwhelmingly attested to by ancient literary sources. Whereas the incontestable fact that ancient sculpture was colored was suppressed during the Italian Renaissance, it was recalled in the nineteenth century; in the twentieth century, it once again paled into insignificance, giving way to an aestheticism directed at clarity. Numerous traces of the original polychromy in antique sculpture have survived. They bear testimony to Greek and Roman statues having worn elaborately ornamented garments painted with precious pigments. Read the rest of this entry »

October 23, 2008

Turkey wants Knidos Lion to be returned

Posted at 12:38 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The town of Datça in Turkey is asking for the return of the Knidos Lion & a statue of Demeter, artefacts from the area currently in the British Museum. This request follows on from others that Turkey has made in the past for artefacts that have been taken from the countries ancient sites.

Today’s Zaman
23 October 2008, Thursday

Datça to seek return of ancient sculptures
The town of Datça, in Muğla province, is planning to apply to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for the return of a sculpture known as the “Knidos Lion” and a statue of Demeter. The pieces are currently being exhibited at the British Museum in London.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, the mayor of Datça, Erol Karakullukçu, said they want to take back the carvings, which were found in the ancient city of Knidos near Datça and that they will petition the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for their return. Karakullukçu said, “In order to keep the public aware that these sculptures were made in Datça thousands of years ago, and that they were taken to be exhibited in Britain, we made marble replicas of the original sculptures and exhibit them at the city park.”
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October 22, 2008

Greek Prime Minister discusses Elgin Marbles with Gordon Brown

Posted at 1:06 pm in Elgin Marbles

During talks with The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Costas Karamanlis, the Greek Prime Minister, has again raised the issue of the Parthenon Marbles. Gordon Brown’s response to the request is not mentioned. This may be the first time that the issue has been raised directly with Gordon Brown, but it has been discussed with Tony Blair on numerous occasions.

Athens News Agency

Karamanlis discusses global crisis with Brown

The Inner Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will convene on Wednesday to discuss Interior Ministry’s issues. On Tuesday, the impact of the global financial crisis on Europe and the European economies were at the focus of talks between Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis and his British counterpart Gordon Brown in London.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Karamanlis praised Brown’s contribution to the common effort for amelioration of the crisis. He said the primary target of the efforts was to minimize the consequences of the international financial crisis on the lives of the citizens and on the real economy, and particularly on the financially weaker brackets.
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October 21, 2008

The lack of progress in Benin

Posted at 12:58 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The winds are starting to change for the reunification of cultural property held in the West, as evidenced by high profiles cases involving Italy, Greece, Ethiopia & others. So far though, Nigeria has not secured the return of any artefacts, despite the fact that the heritage of the kingdom of Benin sits in many of the West’s great institutions & was typically acquired in circumstances of questionable legality.

Modern Ghana

By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Tue, 21 Oct 2008

The lack of reaction from Western holders of Benin artefacts to the several calls
by Nigerians for restitution is causing anger in many circles.

The report below deals with the renewed calls by the Benin National Council for restitution and a declaration of intention to resort to legal proceedings and what is described as “self-help”.
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