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Piece of Parthenon frieze handed back to Greece

A fragment of the Parthenon frieze which was held by Heidelberg University has now been handed back to Greece following the decision earlier this year [1] to return it. This is the first time tat any piece of the Parthenon sculptures has been returned to Greece, so represents a very important first step towards the reunification of all the surviving Parthenon sculptures in Athens.
This is an Deutche Presse Agentur syndicated article which appeared in many newspapers around the world.

The raw story [2]

German university hands piece of Parthenon back to Greece
Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published: Monday September 4, 2006

Heidelberg, Germany- A German university handed over to Greece on Monday a small piece of the Parthenon, the temple in the centre of Athens, 130 years after the fragment was removed by a collector. The-8-by-11-centimetre piece of stone carved in relief comes from the north frieze over the Parthenon and fits a panel of which most of the rest is preserved in the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Greeke Minister of Culture Giorgos Voulgarakis travelled to the University of Heidelberg to pick up the piece.

No one knows how the fragment, showing part of a sandalled foot and the hem of a robe, came to Germany, but it was probably taken as a souvenir. It first appeared in a university inventory in 1871.

Much of the frieze is preserved in the British Museum in London in a collection known as the Elgin Marbles, which Greece regards as looted. Greece has vainly demanded that Britain return those parts and Heidelburg University was wary of seeming to take Athens’s side.

When the handover was decided on in January, the university said it was simply putting the fragment back into the larger panel where it belonged so as to assist scientific study.

The Parthenon was erected between 447 and 432 BC.

© 2006 DPA – Deutsche Presse-Agenteur