Quote of the Day

We are taking a very important step to finally realize the dream that unites all Greeks.

Kostas Karamanlis, Hellenic Republic Prime Minister

July 24, 2005

The destruction of Babylon following the Gulf war

Posted at 5:52 pm in Similar cases

The looting from Greece & Egypt has been going on over the course of centuries. Much of it was at the time behaviour that was deemed acceptable by many & it is only in recent years that it has been seen as a major problem. In Iraq however, operating within the context of current values, the destruction & looting of antiquities continues on a daily basis, robbing the country of its history.

It is interesting now, how the very institutions in the west whose collections contain many items looted in the past can be critical of the modern day looting without any pause for reflection on the issues surrounding their own artefacts.

From:
Asia Times

Middle East
Jul 9, 2005
The smash of civilizations
By Chalmers Johnson

Note from Tom Engelhardt, editor of Tomdispatch: The World Monuments Fund has placed Iraq on its list of the Earth’s 100 most endangered sites, the first time that a whole nation has been listed. The destruction began as Baghdad fell. First, there was the looting of the National Museum. That took care of some of the earliest words on clay, including, possibly, cuneiform tablets with missing parts of the epic of Gilgamesh. Soon after, the great libraries and archives of the capital went up in flames and books, letters, government documents, ancient Korans and religious manuscripts stretching back centuries vanished forever. Read the rest of this entry »

July 22, 2005

Israel plans official looting of Palestinian artefacts for “protection”

Posted at 9:33 pm in Similar cases

It appears that as Israel withdraws from Gaza they plan on taking many artefacts with them. The justification for this is that they will be better looked after, a reasoning that is bad enough when post-rationalised by the British Museum, but is even worse when it is planned as a strategy today, with no regard for the wishes of the owners of the artefacts.

From:
Jerusalem Post

Jul. 21, 2005 1:08 | Updated Jul. 21, 2005 15:49
Palestinians: Israel to steal artifacts
Palestinian archaeologists say they fear that when Israel withdraws from Gaza it will also take priceless archeological artifacts. Israeli officials have acknowledged this is a possibility.

A military installation in the northwestern tip of the Gaza Strip surrounds a sixth century Byzantine church, discovered in 1999 by an Israeli archaeologist. The well-preserved 1,461-year-old church, which measures 13 by 25 meters, has three large and colorful mosaics with floral-motifs and geometric shapes. Nearby is a Byzantine hot bath and artificial fishponds.
Read the rest of this entry »

The modernising of Britain’s museums

Posted at 5:17 pm in British Museum

The British Government recently produced a report, that amongst other things highlighted how a large proportion of the collections of many museums in Britain is hidden from the public. The report also suggests that museum’s should be more willing to lend items from their collections to other museums.
This article looks at how some museums are choosing to deal with the overcrowding problems by making their entire collection more accessible.

From:
Haaretz (Israel)

Fri., July 22, 2005 Tamuz 15, 5765
Israel Time: 02:50 (EST+7)
Underground art
By David Rapp

One of Britain’s most important art collections had a rather sweet beginning, even if today’s reductive economic perspective might prompt some observers to see its story as being mainly about money. In the middle of the 19th century, Henry Tate went into the sugar business. A few years later he bought the rights to a revolutionary patent for cutting large chunks of sugar into small cubes. The sugar cubes made Tate a rich man, and he could soon afford to leave Liverpool and settle in London. Among his other investments, Tate cultivated an art collection, mainly of contemporary paintings. Having first displayed the collection in his spacious London home, he proposed toward the end of his life to leave it to the nation. To his surprise, the response he received hinted that the national collection was already full enough without his 65 works.
Read the rest of this entry »

July 21, 2005

30 years of restoration work on Acropolis

Posted at 12:56 pm in Acropolis

Apparently the reason for Tatoulis’s visit to the Acropolis yesterday was to mark the fact the it was 30 years since the current phase of restoration works on the site started.

From:
Kathimerini (English Edition)

Acropolis on course
Major phase of facelift to be ready by next year, along with museum
PETROS GIANNAKOURIS/AP

Workers use a crane to shift a marble fragment on the Acropolis in central Athens as part of a conservation project that Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis said yesterday would be largely completed by the end of next year. The ancient citadel is home to some of the best examples of Classical Greek architecture and the Parthenon, seen in the background, will be the last monument to be renovated as work on it is to continue after 2006. The entire project is likely to be ready by 2020, according to Tatoulis.
Read the rest of this entry »

More on the Acropolis restoration completion dates

Posted at 12:38 pm in Acropolis

Many papers have an AP article today, giving more details of the expected completion of the Acropolis restoration project that Petros Tatoulis spoke about yesterday.

From:
The Guardian

Acropolis Facelifts Near Finish in Greece
Wednesday July 20, 2005 6:46 PM
AP Photo ATH103
By NICHOLAS PAPHITIS
Associated Press Writer

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – For years, tourists to the Acropolis have been frustrated to find ancient monuments shrouded in scaffolding, thanks to a long and painstaking restoration project. Now, an end is in sight.

Greek cultural officials said Wednesday that work on the Parthenon, the Athena Nike temple and the massive Propylaea gate – treasures built in the mid-fifth century B.C. at the height of Athenian glory – should be finished by the end of next year.
Read the rest of this entry »

July 20, 2005

Acropolis restoration to complete by end of 2006

Posted at 6:01 pm in Acropolis, New Acropolis Museum

The Deputy Culture Minister of the Hellenic Republic Petros Tatoulis anounced today that he expects the work on the Acropolis restoration to end by late 2006. He also anticipates that the New Acropolis Museum will complete at around the same time (which is what its current deadline is, assuming that the problems with the contractors unpaid taxes do not delay it further.)

From:
Athens News Agency

Wednesday 20, July 2005
Deputy culture minister Tatoulis: Restoration work on Acropolis to be completed by end-2006

Deputy culture minister Petros Tatoulis said Wednesday that restoration and other work on the Acropolis would be completed by the end of 2006, keeping with the relevant timetables.
Read the rest of this entry »

July 19, 2005

Getty curator on trial over stolen artefacts

Posted at 9:46 pm in Similar cases

The trial in the Italian courts of Getty curator Marion True started this week, but was then postponed after an initial hearing. True denies all charges & the Getty supports her in this assertion.

From:
Reuters

Getty curator on trial in Rome in stolen art case
18 Jul 2005 13:14:21 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Shasta Darlington

ROME, July 18 (Reuters) – The curator of antiquities at California’s respected J. Paul Getty Museum went on trial in Rome on Monday accused of receiving stolen artefacts in a case closely watched by the international art world.

After a decade-long investigation, Italian prosecutors charged Marion True, who has been with the Getty for over 20 years, of criminal conspiracy to receive stolen goods and illegal receipt of archaeological artefacts.
Read the rest of this entry »

Acropolis panoramas

Posted at 5:50 pm in Acropolis

Panoramic views using QuicktimeVR or the various Java based viewers available realy help people to get an understanding of how different parts of a site connect together if they have not been there. giving you the impression that you are really there & looking around it.
Some time ago I created a number of panoramic views of the Parthenon, but have not yet had time to add the to this site. Hellas.net has recently added a page with 9 different panoramic views of the Acropolis. Particularly if you have never had the chance to visit Athens, it will give you a much clearer idea of what it feels like to stand on the Acropolis. There are also a lot of other panoramas of Athens & other parts of Greece on the site.

The iconoclasm on the Parthenon

Posted at 5:43 pm in Acropolis

The Towards an Archaeology of Iconoclasm blog has an interesting piece about the iconoclasm at the Parthenon during the early Christian period.
It is an interesting period in the Parthenon’s history, but often forgotten, sandwiched between the creation & early life of the building as a temple, & then its later life as a mosque under the Ottomans.

Egypt requests return of Pharonic reliefs

Posted at 4:44 pm in Similar cases

Although this was rather obscured by the big Egyptian request at around the same time for the return of the five most important objects in foreign museums, this is actually a very different request.
Despite the long running dispute over the Elgin Marbles, the Greek government has always continued to allow British archaeologists to continue their work in the country & the British School of Archaeology is one of the longest running foreign schools in Greece.
This latest Egyptian request accuses both Britain & Belgium of stealing artefacts & threatens to shut down archaeological digs run by these countries if the two items in question are not returned.

From:
Canada.com

Egypt demands return of pharaonic reliefs from European institutions
Canadian Press
Monday, July 18, 2005

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – Egypt demanded that institutions in Britain and Belgium return two pharaonic reliefs it says were chipped off tombs and stolen 30 years ago, threatening Sunday to end their archeological work here if they refuse.

The 4,400-year-old reliefs, taken from two tombs uncovered in 1965, are currently at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Britain and the Catholic University of Brussels. A request has been sent to both seeking their return, Culture Minister Farouq Hosni said in a statement.
Read the rest of this entry »

July 18, 2005

Wales’s Elgin Marbles?

Posted at 6:01 pm in Similar cases

The Welsh have for some time been requesting the permanent display in Wales of the Golden Cape which was purchased by the British Museum.
Of course this article misses a number of key differences, or least that the cape was never part of an existing building, & that it is all in one location now, rather than being split between two countries.

From:
icWales

Renewed row over Wales’ golden cape
Jul 18 2005
Darren Devine, Western Mail

A FRESH row has begun over the ownership of a priceless golden cape that is to go on display at a museum in North Wales.

The ceremonial cape made of solid gold was discovered in Mold, North Wales, in 1833, but was bought by the British Museum, in London, three years later.
Read the rest of this entry »

July 17, 2005

The importance of the Magdala Ethiopian manuscripts

Posted at 9:57 pm in Similar cases

We regularly hear about the importance of a specific artefact or group of artefacts, but all too often the mainstream press stops their description at this point & we are left to try & decipher for ourselves precisely what makes such an item significant. Richard Pankhurst uses this article to neatly outline some of the reasons why the Magdala Manuscripts held in the British Library are important in understanding many different aspects of Ethiopian culture & as a result should be available for more Ethiopians to study.

From:
Addis Tribune (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Ethiopian Studies: A Call for Action
The Importance of Ethiopian Manuscripts
By Richard Pankhurst

Ethiopian manuscripts, which are mainly in the country’s classical language, Ge’ez, but also in Adare or Harari, Arabic and other languages, are of fundamental value for the study of Ethiopia’s history and culture.
Read the rest of this entry »