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The Heidelberg fragment is just the beginning

Anthony Snodgrass, chairman of the BCRPM [1] explains in a letter to The Times [2], why the return of the Heidelberg fragment of the Parthenon frieze is so significant.

The Times [3]

Letters to the Editor
The Times
January 21, 2006

Share the Marbles

Sir, Many readers will see the significance of a recent decision to return the Heidelberg fragment of the Parthenon Frieze to Greece. What is striking about this initiative is that it came, not from politicians, but from distinguished archaeologists who have acted after close consideration of the ethics of the case and who know at least as much about the issues as anyone on the “retentionist” side.

With this beginning, 2006 looks like being a make-or-break year, not for our campaign (we can go on for another 200 years if necessary), but for the reputation for fair-mindedness of the British Museum and British people generally. Before the end of this year, we shall see the completion of the New Acropolis Museum, in Athens, offering an incomparably finer setting for the reunited sculptures than the Duveen Gallery, in London, where half of them are now displayed.

The door is still open to constructive discussions to resolve the issue of the Marbles by co-operation. This could be on terms uniquely favourable to the British Museum, allowing it to retain possession of the Marbles in a new location in Athens and with the guarantee of no further claim from Greece on objects of Greek provenance in the museum. The moment has surely come, not to lose but to share our Marbles.


Chairman, British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles
London N1