Quote of the Day

The greatest weakness in the Greeks’ case to retrieve the marbles from Britain was always the lack of a suitable museum. Tschumi’s museum is the strongest card the Greeks have yet played.

Stephen Phillips, Building Design magazine

November 29, 2004

The Acropolis Museum

Posted at 12:48 am in New Acropolis Museum

An exhibition at the Acropolis Studies centre in Athens at the front of the site of the New Acropolis Museum offers an interesting insight into the new museum before it is completed. Not only does it show models & information about the museum itself, but also exhibits some of the artefacts that will be displayed in the museum as well as the new & innovative way in which the artefacts will be exhibited.
Although the Parthenon Marbles are the centrepiece around which Tschumi’s design for the museum is based, they are only part of a much larger collection of artefacts from a range of periods that will be on display there.

From:
Artdaily.com

Monday, November 29, 2004
The New Acropolis Museum – Designing a New Approach
ATHENS, GREECE.- A new museum at the foot of Acropolis, to hold all the incomparable material found on that venerable site -sculptures, inscriptions, architectural fragments, portable antiquities and others- is being designed for a long time. It’s the New Museum of the Acropolis. Not long before this ambitious plan becomes an accomplished fact, the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum shows a little something of what we’ll see and presents a model of the Museum, along with 34 original works, which are going to be accommodated in it. The exhibition lasts until December 31, 2004.
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November 27, 2004

New book recreates Parthenon Marbles as a single entity

Posted at 10:19 pm in Elgin Marbles

At present it is impossible to see the surviving Parthenon Sculptures in their entirety in a single place. A new book combines photos of them to replicate as closely as possible how the complete surviving set would look.

From:
Kathimerini

Saturday November 27, 2004
Book recreates Parthenon Marbles as a single entity
Let’s be thankful for small mercies! The Parthenon sculptures have returned from the British Museum in London and some others from the Louvre in Paris to join their few remaining counterparts in Greece, until now in the Acropolis Museum, to bask in the sunshine on the Parthenon itself!

Not yet a reality, this scenario is presented in a faithfully illustrated book by Ephesus Publications. For Helbi, who firmly believes the return of the Parthenon sculptures is only a matter of time, this book is a step in the right direction. The foreign public has already been convinced it is time for them to return. The British Museum has had them long enough. As our readers are only too well aware, all that is needed is the completion of the new Acropolis Museum so that the sculptures will be in sight of the Parthenon, one of UNESCO’s 10 World Monuments.
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November 25, 2004

High quality of the marbles that Elgin left behind

Posted at 7:03 pm in Elgin Marbles

The British Museum argued that by taking the marbles off the Parthenon, Elgin was acting as a preservationist, saving them from certain destruction. The good condition of the marbles that he left behind on the Parthenon suggest otherwise however.

From:
The Times (London)

November 25, 2004
Sharp relief of the marbles Elgin left behind
By Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent

AN EMINENT Cambridge scholar who is campaigning for the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece has produced evidence to challenge long-standing claims that they were saved by being brought to Britain.

Anthony Snodgrass, Laurence Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology at Cambridge University, said that the British Museum’s Marbles now pale against those which Elgin did not manage to remove from Greece. Original details that are absent from the British Museum’s creamy-white sculptures are now visible for the first time in the warm brown Greek figures that have emerged after an 11-year conservation programme in Athens.
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November 21, 2004

Lecture at Kings College, London on the restoration of the Propylaea

Posted at 1:42 am in Acropolis

The colossal task of restoring the Acropolis can be split down into a number of smaller projects focussing on the individual buildings within the site. Dr Tassos Tanoulas who is in charge of the restoration of the Propylaea (the gateway building through which you pass to enter the Acropolis) is speaking in London about the part of the restoration work that he has overseen.

From:
Kathimerini

Saturday November 20, 2004
King’s College London to host lecture on history and restoration of the Propylaea by Dr Tassos Tanoulas

This Monday, November 22 at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Strand Campus of King’s College London, the Greek Archaeological Committee (UK), with its president Matti Egon, a founding member, and her husband Nicholas, is presenting a lecture by Dr Tassos Tanoulas, the architect in charge of the project of restoring the Propylaea, which the Culture Ministry began in 1982.
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November 19, 2004

An alternative interpretation of the meaning of the Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 2:40 pm in Elgin Marbles

Robert Bowie Johnson Jr.’s new book claims to unlock the hidden meaning behind the sculptures of the Parthenon sculptures. Unfortunately if it is anything like his previous book “Athena & Eden” it will be more a case of post-rationalising his own interpretation onto the sculptures as a means of projecting his own viewpoint. Thereby presenting an interpretation not seen in any other books on the subject.
I would not personally recommend that you buy this book, unless you also read some other books on the subject such as those by Margaretha Rossholm Lagerlof & Jennifer Neils amongst others.

From:
PR Newswire

New Book Decodes Greek Myth/Art, Meaning of Parthenon Sculptures

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ — Those ancient Greek “myths” we
learned about in school, it turns out, weren’t myths at all, but rather the
history of the human race told from the Greeks’ unique religious standpoint.
The Parthenon Code: Mankind’s History in Marble, by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr.,
newly-released from Solving Light Books, decodes Greek myth and deciphers the
meaning of the sculptures of Athena’s ancient temple, the Parthenon.
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November 18, 2004

Plunder of Pakistan’s archaeological sites

Posted at 2:30 pm in Similar cases

The author of this article, reflects on the destruction of many of Pakistan’s archaeological sites & how perhaps the viewpoint that the works would be better preserved in foreign museums is a valid one.
This argument is often put forward by the British Museum, but in many ways should not apply to cases such as the Elgin Marbles, with Greece being as much a western country as Britain is.
Another bigger problem that I have with this argument however, is the suggestion in it that the countries who have lost their artworks to western museums & collectors had some element of choice in the matter, or that there was a level of discussion about how the artefacts could best be preserved. The reality however is that in many cases collectors greedily took whatever they could & then later sold it to museums in the west. There was no consensus that this was the best approach, nor did any unbiased international body ever appoint the museums to carry out this task. They are (in my personal opinion) merely using this argument to try & post-rationalise their earlier misdemeanours, based on events that have happened in these countries after the artefacts were taken (or in some cases, based on events that might possibly happen, but that have not.)

From:
Daily Times (Pakistan)

Thursday, November 18, 2004
LETTER FROM LONDON: Squandering our patrimony
Irfan Husain

There has been a long debate about the right of ex-colonial powers to keep the antiquities they carried off with them from around the world. The counter-argument is that at least people can see historical objects at museums in London, Paris and New York. Had they stayed in their places of origin, they would probably have been stolen and kept in private collections

Last week, this newspaper carried a story about the plunder of our archaeological sites. Based on a report published in The Times of London, the account told us how 90 percent of Pakistan’s historical sites had been (and are) wide open to robbers who have been digging up rare and valuable artefacts and smuggling them out of the country. Many of these pieces end up in London’s antiquity market.
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Former Australian PM calls for return of Elgin Marbles

Posted at 2:00 pm in Elgin Marbles

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Frazer, has been speaking in New Zealand about why he feels the Elgin Marbles should be returned.

From:
The New Zealand Herald

Fraser says to return Elgin marbles
18.11.2004

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser yesterday sought the support of New Zealand parliamentarians in urging the British Government to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece.

Know as the Elgin Marbles, half of the figures of the Parthenon have been in Britain since they were sawn off the ancient monument in 1801 by the seventh Earl of Elgin, Bruce Thomas.
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November 14, 2004

The official Greek position on the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:05 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

Following the change of government in Greece earlier this year, their has been some confusion about exactly what the position of the new government is regarding the return of the Elgin Marbles, as when in opposition they attempted to obstruct the construction of the New Acropolis Museum.
This press release helps to clarify the importance that the ND government place on the return of the sculptures to Greece.

From:
Hellenic Ministry of Culture

The official Greek position on the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens

Interview excerpt Kostas Karamanlis, Prime Minister

“Culture is a social investment because the world needs values and humanity”

Journalist: Is it meaningful to continue the campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles with the same passion, when the British appear negative toward our request, or would it be wiser to change our tactics and start negotiations in a different manner?
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November 12, 2004

Acropolis Museum to be built by 2006

Posted at 2:35 pm in New Acropolis Museum

After numerous lengthy delays, work is again underway on the construction of the New Acropolis Museum. A critical part of the argument for the return of the Elgin Marbles.

From:
Kathimerini

Friday November 12, 2004
Acropolis museum promised for 2006

Greece’s long-delayed project to build a new Acropolis Museum that might one day host the Elgin, or Parthenon, Marbles will be finished in two years’ time at a cost of 129 million euros, the government promised yesterday.

Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis told a press conference that the contract for construction of the ultra-modern new building at the foot of the ancient citadel was signed last Friday. The previous, Socialist government had sworn to have the building ready before the Athens Olympics, at a cost of 94 million euros. But nothing happened. Yesterday, Tatoulis accused his predecessors of having “never handled the matter seriously.” If the museum is ever built, Athens hopes it will provide it with a strong argument in its bid for the return of the fifth-century BC Marbles from the British Museum, which, backed by the UK government, has refused to relinquish the sculptures.

November 5, 2004

Britain to negotiate return of Ethiopian Tabots

Posted at 2:43 pm in Similar cases

Ethiopia wants the British Museum to return a collection of sacred tablets, that are currently kept locked in a vault at the museum.

From:
Big News Network

Friday 5th November, 2004
Brits negotiate future of sacred tablets

The British Museum is negotiating the return of tablets known as tabots that represent the Biblical Ark of the Covenant and are sacred to Ethiopian Christians.

The Art Newspaper said Thursday the tabots were part of the Maqdala treasures seized in an 1868 punitive expedition to Ethiopia — then known as Abyssinia — by British troops that led to the suicide of Emperor Tewodros. Much of the loot wound up in the British museum in what one former director described as a less than glorious episode.
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November 2, 2004

Chinese jewelry stolen from British Museum

Posted at 3:17 pm in British Museum

The British Museum tells us that the Elgin Marbles are looked after better in London than they would be in Athens. The number of incidents involving artefacts disappearing from the museum might suggest otherwise however.

From:
BBC News

Last Updated: Monday, 1 November, 2004, 15:17 GMT
Chinese jewels stolen from museum
Items of rare medieval Chinese jewellery have been stolen from the British Museum in London.

The 15 pieces were stolen by a thief believed to be masquerading as a visitor to the museum on Friday.

“We believe the theft took place while the gallery was open to the public as no alarms were activated and there was no sign of a break-in,” said police.
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Ebay to block sales of looted art

Posted at 3:16 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The trade in looted artwork is in the news a lot at present, largely due to the action that took place in many archaeological sites & museums in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government.
The British Museum have now requested that Ebay take steps to limit the use of their auction service for the illegal antiquities trade, although it is having trouble defining exactly how things should be classified as legal sales.

From:
New York Times

Museum Asks EBay to Block Some Sales
By PATRICK E. TYLER

Published: October 30, 2004

LONDON, Oct. 29 – For centuries, London has served as an international market for the treasures and antiquities of empires.

Thus the looting of Iraq’s National Museum and numerous archaeological sites of Mesopotamia has incited British parliamentarians to crack down on the illicit antiquities trade – this time of its own national treasures. The pieces are recovered by a record number of Britons (about 10,000 each weekend) who scour field, forest and shire with metal detectors in hopes of finding some mud-encrusted relics.
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