June 1, 2007

Crane relay to transfer artefacts to New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 1:05 pm in Acropolis, Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

More details of the method by which the sculptures will be transferred by three cranes from the Acropolis to the New Acropolis Museum in a delicate & carefully co-ordinated operation.

The Times

May 31, 2007
Greek treasures get a lift to their new home

Hundreds of marble sculptures that have survived heat, pollution and looters on the Acropolis in Athens will be swung over the city, using special cranes, to a new museum complex. The sculptures, some weighing 2.5 tonnes, will be transferred in a relay operation to a purpose-built glass home at the foot of the hill in September.

One crane, perched precariously near the ancient retaining wall of the Acropolis, will lift the exhibits out of the old museum. A second will stand in the precinct near the Herod Atticus Theatre to receive the relics, then swing its arm round to a third across Dionysius the Areopagite Street, a pedestrianised walkway on which the new museum stands.

The cranes are vital because no vehicle capable of carrying the loads would be able to reach the temple.

The first of 300 sculptures, part of a marble frieze by Phidias, the Athenian sculptor, will be lifted from its place in the Acropolis Museum and transferred about 300 yards to the new premises. The 2.5-tonne block and those that follow will be suspended high above the ground in the most delicate phase of the operation.

The exhibits will be wrapped in protective plastic or encased in reinforced wooden boxes filled with shock-absorbing foam. On being lowered into the new museum, they will be rolled on to mobile airbags for final positioning. Work on dismantling the larger exhibits will begin in July, when the old museum, a basement facility next to the Parthenon, is finally closed. “This is a going to be an operation unique in the world,” George Voulgarakis, the Culture Minister, said.

The museum, besides providing extra space, is more convenient for visitors, who will no longer have to make the 200ft climb to the Acropolis in the hot sun. It is next to the Acropolis metro station, which features replicas of the Elgin Marbles in its spacious entrance with the pointed comment that the originals “are still in London”. The new museum will display the Parthenon sculptures in a glass hall, allowing views of the ancient temple. Space for the sculptures that were removed by Lord Elgin and are on display in the British Museum will be left empty. Their return is still an official ambition of the Greek Government.

The Acropolis Museum contains finds from the Acropolis rock that dates from the 6th century BC, when the lawgiver Solon put some order into the early Athenian state, ending its class conflicts. The key exhibits are Phidias’s massive friezes, which show Athenian victory parades and scenes from legend, including a depiction of Poseidon.

The Culture Ministry said that it would expropriate and eventually demolish two properties owned by the composer Vangelis, whose work was used in the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, and which obstruct the view to the Acropolis.

Archaeologists are swarming over the largely empty city block where the new museum is being built, examining layers of Neolithic and Archaic relics that were uncovered when the foundations were dug.

Since the nearby metro station was dug ten years ago, at least 50,000 ancient artefacts have come to light, confirming the area as perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited urban spot in Europe.

Gift to gods

  • The Acropolis is a hill that dominates Athens and houses a collection of buildings constructed in the time of the demagogue Pericles in the 5th century BC to celebrate the city’s political and cultural achievements
  • The main building, the Parthenon, is a vast temple built over 15 years to house a giant statue of Athena, the city’s patron goddess. It has served subsequent generations as both a church and mosque
  • The Acropolis attracts more than 1.6 million foreign holidaymakers to the Greek capital each year.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Wednesday May 30, 2007 – Archive

Acropolis artifacts on move

The three largest lifting cranes in Europe will be employed to help move artifacts from the Parthenon to the New Acropolis Museum in September, it was revealed yesterday. The 5th century BC antiquities will be moved from the museum on the ancient rock to the building that is being completed near the Acropolis metro station, just 400 meters away.

It is expected that all the exhibits, including sections of the Parthenon frieze, will be transferred by the end of the year so the new museum can open to the public early next year.

Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said that the government was still examining ways of insuring the artifacts against damage.

The antiquities will be wrapped in protective packaging and put into crates. They are to be transferred in three stages. The cranes will be placed some 100 meters apart and the crates will be relayed between them.

The final crane will lower the crates onto the museum’s first- or third-floor balconies so that the artifacts can then be placed inside the building.


Wed, 30 May 2007 14:28:00GMT
ATHENS, Greece, May 30
The painstaking transfer of artifacts from a small museum atop the Acropolis in central Athens to their new, state-of-the-art home will begin in the fall.

Archaeology service officials said 340 priceless artifacts, already loaded into metallic crates, will be lowered 1,312 feet by three construction cranes to the new Acropolis Museum, a modern glass-and-steel structure facing the hill’s south side, the Athens News Agency reported Tuesday.

The operation is expected to last until the end of the year, officials said. The new museum is to open in early 2008.

Exhibits housed in the current museum will be joined by many other pieces that were kept in various museum warehouses because of insufficient exhibition space.

Greek Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said the operation would cost about $3.4 million.

Copyright 2007 by UPI

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Possibly related articles

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment

We want to hear your views. Be as critical or controversial as you like, but please don't get personal or offensive. Remember this is for feedback and constructive discussion!
Comments may be edited or removed if they do not meet these guidelines. Repeat offenders will be blocked from posting further comments. Any comment deemed libellous by Elginism's editors will be removed.
The commenting system uses some automatic spam detection and occasionally comments do not appear instantly - please do not repost comments if they do not show up straight away