Showing results 1 - 12 of 13 for the month of December, 2011.

December 20, 2011

RIP Christopher Hitchens – supporter of the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:49 pm in Elgin Marbles

In the mid 1980s, when interest in the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles was not as high as it is now, Christopher Hitchens chose to write his second book about the Parthenon Marbles – and why he thought that they should be returned to Greece. This book still is perhaps the text that most eloquently summarises the arguments for the return of the sculptures & refutes those against. It has since been reprinted in three different editions, each time summarising the current status of the case, with introductory passages written by various others involved with the campaign.

His book was the first thing that I read when researching the design of the New Acropolis Museum – which led to my interest in the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles ever since then.

Particularly in his later works, I disagreed with much of what Hitch wrote, but in other cases, his clear understanding of the arguments led me to change my own mind on subjects. Throughout his life though, he steadfastly maintained his assertions that the Parthenon Sculptures should be returned to Greece.

Farewell Christopher, you will be missed.

(Interestingly, I notice that the Reuters obituary was written by Sharon Waxman – herself an author of a book on disputed artefacts in museums)


Christopher Hitchens: A salute to intellectual honesty
By Sharon Waxman
Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:42pm EST

LOS ANGELES ( – Nothing sharpened Christopher Hitchens’ mind like cancer.

He wrote the best, most piercing, most clarifying prose of his career as he faced down the specter of his own demise.

As he dealt with fatigue and nausea, with the anger, disgust and frustration that must accompany what he knew was a death sentence, Hitch poured it all into words that were as painfully honest as they were hilarious.
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December 13, 2011

Famous disputes over ancient artefact ownership

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

A few weeks ago, France announced that they would return various Māori heads taken from New Zealand. This article looks at some of the other well-known disputes over artefacts.

Daily Telegraph

Famous disputes over ownership of ancient artefacts
10:30AM BST 09 May 2011

Elgin Marbles

France has agreed to return more than one dozen Maori heads taken from new Zealand more than a century ago. Here are some other ongoing disputes between nations over prized ancient artefacts:

Probably the most famous, and one of the longest running, disputes over ownership of ancient artefacts is the battle between Britain and Greece over the Elgin Marbles.
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December 6, 2011

Does the return of artefacts sometimes diminish their value?

Posted at 2:14 pm in Similar cases

This article has an interesting ending – when art works are returned mainly for the purpose of being re-sold, it can often mean that the gains are not without losses. This contrasts of course to cases such as that of the Parthenon Marbles (& many other high profile cases), where the intention is to display them in the country where they were originally created, rather than to use them as a method of financial compensation.


Online database of art looted by Nazis points to a more complex history
Jonathan Jones
Thursday 5 May 2011 17.02 BST

Hitler’s looting of artworks was not exceptional. The quest to find them is really an expression of revulsion at his true crimes

A troubling detail caught my eye in the new online archive of documents relating to art works looted by the Nazis. At the first meeting of the British Committee on the Preservation and Restitution of Works of Art in 1944, the critic Kenneth Clark “drew attention to the reported destruction of churches such as San Francesco at Arezzo”, which, he said, “suggested that our bombing was not always accurate”.
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Scorpia Rising – a children’s novel about the return of the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 2:02 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

A new children’s novel by Anthony Horowitz revolves around a plot to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. Unfortunately, it appears that those in favour of return are cast as the bad guys in this particular version of the story…

BBC News

Book Review: Alex Rider – Scorpia Rising
Last Updated: Wednesday June 08 2011 10:57 GMT

Anthony Horowitz

The story
This book is different from all the other Alex Rider books as it explains the villain’s plot right at the beginning, whereas most other Alex Rider books you have to work out what the villain is up to.

In this book, Scorpia are hired to return some statues called the Elgin Marbles in the British museum to Greece. To do this they plan to blackmail MI6 by showing the world that MI6 have been using a teenager to do all their work.
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Austrian auction house plans to sell African art despite unclear provenance

Posted at 1:56 pm in Similar cases

The Auction House, Dorotheum in Vienna is planning a sale of Austrian artefacts, despite the fact that the provenance of some of the artefacts seems unclear.

Modern Ghana

By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Tue, 03 May 2011

Dorotheum, an auction house in Vienna, Austria has announced for 3 May, 2011, an auction of African art objects from the collection of the late Prof. Dr.Ludwig Leopold (1925-2010), founder of the Leopold Museum in Vienna.(1)

The announcement refers to”Tribal Art of Africa, objects from the unknown Collection of Prof. Dr. Rudolf Leopold”. Indeed, very few persons were aware that Dr. Leopold, collected African artworks. The Leopold Museum and Rudolf Leopold are well-known for their collections of modern European art, especially, the Vienna avant-garde – Gustave Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. However the names of Dr. Leopold and his museum have been recently largely associated in the minds of many with the various attempts to deny to successors of those persons whose artworks were looted by the Nazis or were forced to sell them at ridiculous prices. The museum did not willingly return artworks in its collections with Nazi tainted history and legal battles had to be fought before such cases could be settled. (2) Leopold and his museum did not give in easily to claims for restitution of Nazi-looted art objects.
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Egypt steps up bids for Nefertiti bust return

Posted at 1:50 pm in Similar cases

Egypt plans to step up their efforts to secure the return of the bust of Nefertiti currently house in Berlin’s Neues Museum.

Al Ahram

Egypt steps up bid for Nefertiti bust
The renewed campaign for the return from Germany of the iconic bust is among plans for the return of other artifacts to enhance the exhibits at the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza
Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 3 May 2011

Egypt’s minister for antiquities, Zahi Hawass, has announced that he will send an official letter to the German government requesting the return of the painted Nefertiti bust now on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin. Hawass revealed his intention during an inspection tour around the different sections of the planned Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking Giza plateau. He added that with the letter he will include all documents confirming Egypt’s ownership of the bust, confirming that it was taken illegally to Germany.

“These documents are a statement to the whole world that the Nefertiti bust belongs to Egypt and not Germany,” Hawass said, pointing out that if he was not able to return the bust now, whoever succeeds him will.
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Lecture in New South Wales on excavations surrounding Mentor wreck

Posted at 1:43 pm in Elgin Marbles, Events

There will be a lecture in Sydney about excavations made last summer of the ship, the Mentor, that carried some of the Elgin Marbles from Greece to the UK.

Radio Symban

Public Lecture, Wreck of the Mentor: The Mentor shipwreck, its cargo of Parthenon Marbles, 1800’s salvage and 2011 excavation

In 1802 the small brig Mentor was wrecked on the island of Kythera, Greece. Its stated cargo consisted of 17 crates of the Parthenon Marbles en-route from Piraeus to England via Malta. Over the next two years Lord Elgin spent a small fortune recovering the Marbles using Greek sponge divers. It was long suspected however that there were other undocumented antiquities aboard the vessel which were not recovered. Previous archaeological investigations had been inconclusive.

In July an excavation led by Dr. Kourkoumelis of the Ephorate of Marine Antiquities, Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Greece with three Australian volunteers recovered a number of ancient coins as well as personal items belonging to the crew. The similarities of the Mentor wreck-site with the Queensland wrecks of the HMS Pandora (1792) and Foam (1893) contributed to the decision to excavate in the area most likely to contain the long anticipated antiquities.

The talk is being generously supported by the Kytherian Association of Australia, in conjunction with the Sydney Friends of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens. Excavations have been supported by the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust & Kytherian Association of Australia. Refreshments are being sponsored by Fardoulis Chocolates.

Theatre 101
New Law School Building
Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney
Wednesday, 7 December 2011, 7pm for a 7:30pm start
by Cos Coroneos and John Fardoulis

For more information about the Mentor project see:

Cost: A five dollar donation to the project would be appreciated!

December 5, 2011

A history of looting or a looting of history – the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:02 pm in Similar cases

The winners have been announced for a Greek literary contest to produce essays about the Parthenon Marbles.

Athens News Agency

History of a looting, or looting of history?

(ANA-MPA)-The Hellenic Cultural Association ‘Nostos’ in Argentina has announced the winners of its 3rd international literary contest, with the theme this year being “The Parthenon Marbles: The history of a looting, or the looting of history?”.

More than 350 essays, tales and poems in the Greek, Spanish and English languages from five continents were entered in this year’s contest, organised by Nostos under the aegis of the Greek Embassy in Buenos Aires and the Argentinean national senate.(ANA-MPA)
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Iran rejects claims made by Louvre

Posted at 1:47 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the dispute between Iran & the Louvre in Paris.

Press TV

Iran rejects Louvre Museum claims
Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:34PM

In a statement released on Wednesday, the National Museum of Iran said that a cultural agreement was signed between Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) and the Louvre Museum on October 31, 2004, under which the two museums were supposed to hold exhibitions in the Iranian and French capitals.

The agreement, which is in English, Persian and French, has clearly stated that the two museums can exchange experts and cooperate in research and educational activities, IRNA reported.
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Hero of the Greek Acropolis dies

Posted at 1:41 pm in Acropolis

Apostolos Santas became famous in 1941, when he tore down the Nazi flag that had been raised on the Acropolis in Athens.

Athens News Agency

Resistance figure Santas dies

(ΑΝΑ-ΜPA) — One of the two men who secretly climbed atop the emblematic Acropolis Hill in central Athens and took down the Swastika in the early morning hours of May 31, 1941 – a defiant and extraordinarily symbolic act of resistance at the beginning of the Axis occupation of Greece (1941-44) – died on Saturday at the age of 89.

Apostolos Santas passed away in Athens.
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Getty returns Agrigento Youth to Sicily

Posted at 1:38 pm in Similar cases

The Agrigento Youth statue that was loaned to the Getty as part of a artefact exchange to resolve a dispute with Italy has now been returned to Italy.

Getty blogs

Agrigento Youth Returns to Italy on a Pedestal—A Very High-Tech One
By Annelisa Stephan on April 15, 2011

Centuries ago, a marble sculpture known as the Agrigento Youth took a violent fall, losing his nose and parts of his arms and legs. The cause? Likely an earthquake.

The statue, loaned to us by the Museo Archeologico Regionale in Agrigento as part of our partnership with the Sicilian Ministry of Culture and Sicilian Identity, begins his journey from the Getty Villa back to Sicily at the end of this month. But this time he’ll be protected from tumbles, thanks to a high-tech mechanism concealed in his base.
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December 1, 2011

Dr. Nik Lygeros talks about why he thinks the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece

Posted at 1:59 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Mathematics Lecturer Nik Lygeros (who is also the Greek with the highest IQ level) talks about why he feels that the British Museum should return the Elgin Marbles.

Greek Reporter

Greek Genius Comments on Return of Parthenon Marbles
Posted on 25 April 2011 by Polina Dimea

The restoration of the Parthenon marbles is a national issue that appeals to every Greek soul.

Dr. Nik Lygeros is the Greek with the highest IQ score (189 of the Standford-Binet Intelligence scale). He is a mathematics lecturer at the University of Lyon. His passion for Greece is obvious throughout his whole work and his lectures related to people, history and culture of Greece. He is one who voted for the restoration of the Parthenon marbles.
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