Quote of the Day

The days when foreign museums and private collectors uncontrollably bought antiquities without any identity or passport have gone for good.

Giorgos Voulgarakis, Former Hellenic Republic Minister of Culture

October 2, 2004

EU funding requested for New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 12:08 am in New Acropolis Museum

The New Acropolis Museum is definitely going ahead. However the incoming ND government have concerns about the cost, or more specifically how they are going to find the money.


Thursday September 30, 2004
New Acropolis Museum Budget grows to 129 million, Greece seeks EU funding

Athens has started the process for securing European Union financing for the New Acropolis Museum, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. The project, with which Greece had hoped to pressure the British Museum into returning its Elgin Collection of fifth-century BC sculptures from the Parthenon, was supposed to have been ready in time for the Olympics but never got off the ground. According to the ministry, it will now cost 129 million euros, with 85 million provided by Brussels. The initial budget was 94 million. The museum is to be built in Makriyianni, under the ancient citadel.

October 1, 2004

New Acropolis Museum to receive EU funding

Posted at 2:20 pm in New Acropolis Museum

Now that the New Acropolis Museum is definitely going ahead, the Greek Government is hoping to include it in the list of projects financed by the 3rd Community support fund.

Hellenic Embassy Press Office

New Acropolis Museum to be included in 3rd Community Support Fund
30 September, 2004

The new Acropolis Museum will be included in the list of projects to be financed by the 3rd Community Support Fund. The technical report for the museum as well as a cost/benefit analysis has been sent to the Ministries of the Economy and of Finance respectively. The museum will cost approximately 85 million euro, 50% of which amount will by funded by the EU and 50% by Greece.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Culture, a re-structuring of the Board of Directors of the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum is in progress as is the reissue of a presidential decree regarding its operation. Re-structuring of the museum’s management as well as the supervision of the project will also take place, deemed essential if the New Acropolis Museum project is to be approved by the EU.

September 11, 2004

British Museum to loan Iran Cyrus Cylinder

Posted at 2:35 pm in Similar cases

The British Museum is to Loan (for the second time) the Cyrus Cylinder to Iran, following controversy in the 1970s when it was lent previously. This does however conveniently gloss over the question of how it ended up in the British Museum in the first place.

Persian Journal

IRAN – “Cyrus The Great” Cylinder Coming Home
Sep 10, 2004, 22:53

The British Museum is to lend Iran one of its most famous antiquities, which is regarded as the first charter of human rights, 30 years after its loan to the Shah triggered a fierce diplomatic row.

The inscriptions on the clay drum known as the Cyrus Cylinder detail the conquest of the Babylon of Belshazzar and Nebuchadnezzar by the 6th-century BC Persian king, Cyrus the Great. It was the Iraq/Iran war of the time.
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September 9, 2004

Acropolis restoration exhibition in Ohio

Posted at 11:08 pm in Acropolis

Following its display at the Benaki Museum & at University College London, the exhibition of photos of the Acropolis restoration by Socratis Mavrommatis is appearing at a gallery in Fairfield County, Ohio.

Fairfield County Weekly

Polishing History

by Mike Sembos – September 9, 2004

And you thought I-95 construction was taking a long time… The restoration of the Acropolis in Athens began in 1975, and though evidence of continuing projects were well hidden for the Olympics, it continues indefinitely. Socratis Mavrommatis , the chief photographer of the Acropolis Restoration Service (ARS), has been documenting the progress on film. The 100 or so black and white photos that will be on exhibit at Fairfield U’s Thomas Walsh Gallery starting Wed., September 15, are organized into four sections–the Acropolis before restoration began, the preparation, the work itself and the monuments throughout the process. Peruse up-close architectural shots, views of the Parthenon’s marble floor and frieze and a large color photograph of the Acropolis taken from the nearby hill of the Pnyx, among others.

Support required to clean historic artefacts

Posted at 1:35 pm in Elgin Marbles

Behind the scenes at the Acropolis, a complex cleaning program is restoring the sculptures that have been removed from the Parthenon. The technologically advanced methods such as LaserACT being used in this & other restorations throughout Europe require funding, at the same time as governments are trying to cut back on funding.


Published online: 08 September 2004

Conservers plead for funds to protect Europe’s heritage
Alison Abbott

Money to preserve historic objects in decline


Tens of millions of tourists visit Europe each year to enjoy its cultural heritage. And if they were aware of it, they would no doubt cheer the work of the scientists who are preserving that heritage — fighting the harm caused by pollution, by the natural processes of decay and by the tourists themselves.

But at a meeting in London from 1 to 3 September, the European network of these interdisciplinary researchers declared that its support is diminishing.
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September 1, 2004

North slopes of Acropolis open to public

Posted at 1:58 pm in Acropolis

Following years of excavations, the north slopes of the Acropolis (the area above Plaka) are open to the public once more.


Wednesday September 1, 2004
North slopes of Acropolis open

For the first time in years, the entire Acropolis hill has become accessible to visitors after the Culture Ministry opened the north slopes of the ancient citadel to the general public.

A ministry announcement said yesterday that the area — which was closed off during the 1990s but had not been officially accessible before that — will acquire its own entrance before the end of October from Theorias Street, on the upper reaches of the Plaka district.

Until then, visitors can reach the north slopes from the entry to the Theater of Dionysus and the ruins on the south slope, on the corner of Dionysiou Areopagitou and Thrassylou streets.

The newly opened area, which is dominated by the Erechtheion Temple at the top of the craggy Acropolis rock, includes a series of caves which served as shrines in ancient times, including a cave of Pan which figures prominently in “Ion,” a tragedy by the playwright Euripides.

Greece repeats demands for return of Elgin Marbles

Posted at 1:30 pm in Elgin Marbles

Following the successful Olympics in Athens, there is an interesting article, repeating Greece’s demands for the return of the marbles.

Digital Journal

August 31, 2004
Greece Demands Return of 2,500-Year-Old Parthenon Sculptures

By Roger Wilkison

ATHENS (voa) – While Greece celebrates the successful return of the Olympic Games to their land of origin, there is one more homecoming it would like to see: that of the 2,500-year-old sculptures that were removed from the Parthenon, Athens’ most famous landmark, early in the 19th century. But, the sculptures, known as the Elgin Marbles, are likely to remain in the British Museum in London.

The demand for the return of the marbles, which took up about 60 percent of the west frieze of the Parthenon, goes back to the founding of the Greek state in 1832.
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August 27, 2004

The Greeks still want their marbles back

Posted at 7:28 pm in Elgin Marbles

Prompted by the attention on Greece & Athens brought about by the Olympics, many papers have carried articles about the Elgin Marbles & Greece’s campaign to have them returned.

The State.com (South Carolina, USA)

Posted on Fri, Aug. 27, 2004

The Greeks still want their Elgin marbles back


Knight Ridder Newspapers

ATHENS – Aggelos Papandropoulos points to the east pediment of the Parthenon ruins, one of the man-made wonders of the world, and by far the most enduring symbol of his country.

“There is much that is missing from here that is very beautiful,” the historical preservationist explains. “It is the politicians who have to bring back what is missing. I merely work here. But there is much missing, and it is very beautiful.”
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August 26, 2004

Why the Marbles must stay in Britain

Posted at 2:02 pm in Elgin Marbles

Spiked, the online magazine, has an article (not their first) about the Elgin Marbles & why they believe that they should remain in Britain. The article repeats the same points that are often made by the retentionists however.
Firstly, they comment that the marbles are better displayed in the context of the other artefacts in the British Museum – but this ignores the fact that they were designed to be seen in a different very specific context, one which the British Museum makes no attempt to try & replicate. Surely in the New Acropolis Museum, you could also see the marbles in the context of other sculptures, but it would be a context much closer aligned to the story of the marbles, with other sculptures from the same period, along with other sculptures of different periods from the same site. One would be able to see the evolution that led to the marbles. Surely this is at least as important, & arguably far more important, than seeing the marbles in the context of other artefacts from far corners of the world with which they had no geographical or historical connection. Do you learn something more from seeing the Elgin Marbles followed by a native American totem pole or 16th century Chinese jade jewellery?
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Ancient art at centre of dispute

Posted at 1:50 pm in Elgin Marbles

The Marbles might not be back for the Olympics, but the event has created a lot of additional publicity worldwide for the case for their return.

USA Today

Posted 8/25/2004 3:22 PM
Ancient art at center of dispute
By Patrick O’Driscoll, USA TODAY
ATHENS — At the foot of the Acropolis, a construction hole bigger than the Parthenon has come to symbolize empty diplomatic dreams, as broken as the hilltop ruins.
With the opening of the Athens Olympics, Greece hoped to open a new Acropolis Museum as well. Its crowning feature: A top-floor gallery of glass to display the reunited “Parthenon Marbles,” the priceless friezes and sculptures that once adorned the walls of the 2,500-year-old temple of Athena.
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August 16, 2004

British government refuses to intervene in Elgin Marbles case

Posted at 11:55 pm in Elgin Marbles

One of the promises from the Greek government in their requests for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, was that in return, museums around the UK would be lent other Greek exhibits. A point that was picked up by many of the regional museums in England, although the British Museum has thus far not acknowledged the potential benefits this would have.


Minister refuses to play marbles game
Aug 16 2004
Martin Shipton, The Western Mail

AS THE Olympic Games get under way in Athens, Greek campaigners for the return of the Elgin Marbles can take comfort from the knowledge that one Welsh council is on their side.

Monmouthshire County Council backed the campaign after being told there was a possibility other artistic treasures from Ancient Greece could be sent as a quid pro quo to local museums.
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Jules Dassin requests that the Elgin Marbles are returned

Posted at 11:45 pm in Elgin Marbles

Melina Mercouri might be gone, but her husband, the French film director Jules Dassin & the Melina Mercouri Foundation still strive for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures that she spent the later years of her life fighting so hard for.


Greece says give marbles back
Sun 15 August, 2004 10:55
By Paul Majendie

ATHENS (Reuters) – Film director Jules Dassin has made an impassioned plea for Britain to give Greece back the Elgin Marbles — their return to the Parthenon would be the perfect memorial to his late wife, Melina Mercouri.

“It is so wrong. It doesn’t make sense anymore,” said the frail 92-year-old, recovering at his Athens home from a bout of double pneumonia but determined to keep fighting to the end for the cause that so fired his wife.
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