Quote of the Day

I wholeheartedly believe that each and every antiquity in any part of the world should eventually go back to its homeland. Even if these objects are made of stone, just as people have souls, so do animals, plants and monuments. Taking a monument away destabilises the world and is disrespectful to history.

Ertugrul Gunay, Turkish culture and tourism minister

June 20, 2004

Dorothy King speaks about against the return of the Marbles

Posted at 11:42 am in Elgin Marbles

Billed as the Female Indiana Jones by her publicists, archaeologist Dorothy King has made a name for herself as a vocal opponent of the campaign to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. Fortunately there are many prominent figures in the academic world who disagree strongly with her opinions & theories on the subject. Dorothy King’s comments on the sculptures appear in a BBC documentary on the Marbles next weekend.

From:
The Guardian

Marbles expert: Greeks are like abusive parents
Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent
Sunday June 20, 2004
The Observer

It is Europe’s longest-running cultural heritage dispute, yet the row over the rightful home of the Elgin Marbles is still so hotly contested it will almost qualify as an Olympic sport in Athens this summer.

Undiplomatic comments made by a British archaeologist in a new BBC documentary on the subject will now take the temperature of debate still higher. Dr Dorothy King, a supporter of the British Museum’s position on the ownership of the marbles, has offended members of the Greek community in the UK by comparing the would-be custodians of the Parthenon frieze to abusive parents.
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End of exile for the marbles?

Posted at 11:36 am in Elgin Marbles

Neal Ascherson has written a lengthy article in the Observer about the reasons why he believes the Elgin Marbles should be returned. This article is prompted by a new BBC film on the subject to be shown later this week.

From:
The Observer

End the exile
For 300 years we have had the Elgin Marbles, but the case for their return is now unanswerable
Neal Ascherson
Sunday June 20, 2004
The Observer

In August, the Olympic Games begin in Athens. The world will converge on the city crowned by the Parthenon. But the Greeks, hoping against hope, have invited a very special group of guests who will not be coming. The sacred figures of the Elgin Marbles, sawn off the temple by a Scottish nobleman almost 200 years ago, will be staying in the British Museum.

This week, a fair-minded BBC film will examine Lord Elgin and what he did. It will also set out the arguments, some respectable, some disgraceful, which have kept the marbles here in the teeth of generations of Greek – and British – protest. At the Games, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell will meet her opposite number, Costas Karamanlis, who is both minister of culture and the new Prime Minister. It is obvious what he will say to her. It is far from obvious that they will agree.
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June 15, 2004

Longer opening hours for Greek museums during Olympics

Posted at 11:48 am in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology

A complaint of many visitors to Greece is the awkward opening hours of many of the museums & archaeological sites. During the Olympics, extended opening hours will ensure that these sites will have more visitors than ever before. Many institutions are also stopping charging admission fees for the duration of the games.

From:
Kathimerini English Edition

Tuesday June 15, 2004
Museums, art galleries go on Olympic time
Schedules to accommodate the Games
Museums, archaeological sites, galleries and other cultural institutions are modifying opening times during the upcoming Olympic Games. The Benaki Museum (above) will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
By Dimitris Rigopoulos – Kathimerini

It is a well-known fact that August’s Olympic Games will impose an entirely different atmosphere on Athens, which will affect all activities. Under the circumstances, the city’s cultural life cannot be considered exempt.
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May 29, 2004

Acropolis lift will be ready for the Olympics

Posted at 12:13 pm in Acropolis

As part of the works to make Athens more accessible to disabled visitors, a passenger lift to the top of the Acropolis is due to be built.

From:
Kathimerini English Edition

Saturday May 29, 2004
Acropolis lift in four months?

Despite the strong misgivings voiced by archaeologists, Greek officials have assured the head of the International Paralympic Committee that a complicated structure allowing disabled people access to the Acropolis will be in place when those Games start, a report said yesterday.

“[The Acropolis] is not accessible yet, but I have got assurances,” IPC President Phil Craven told The Associated Press. “I was told it was 99 percent certain.”
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May 23, 2004

New strategy to reunite Elgin Marbles

Posted at 5:02 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

This article looks at the reasons why the Marbles Reunited campaign feels that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Athens.

From:
Toronto Star

May 23, 2004. 01:00 AM
New strategy to `reunite’ Elgin marbles
Greece requests a loan for Olympics British Museum thinks it’s a ruse
SANDRO CONTENTA

ATHENS—The scaffolding and cranes around the Parthenon these days give the ancient monument what the Greeks of the time would have surely described as a tragic allure.

Built in honour of the goddess Athene, protector of Athens, the temple was considered one of the finest of the ancient world.

But time has its way with even the grandest of efforts, and no amount of work can restore a beauty that today is more suggested than real.
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May 21, 2004

Greek students campaign for Elgin Marbles to be returned

Posted at 5:02 pm in Elgin Marbles

Ninety five thousand Greek elementary school children have written letters to the British government asking for the Parthenon Marbles to be returned to Greece.

From:
Macedonian Press Agency

FRIDAY, 21 MAY 2004
GREEK STUDENTS CALL FOR THE RETURN OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES
Thessaloniki, 20 May 2004 (16:02 UTC+2)

Hundreds of private school students and teachers gathered this morning outside the British embassy in Athens and the British consulate in Thessaloniki to deliver a total of 95,000 letters addressed to British Prime Minister Tony Blair calling for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

The mainly elementary school students delivered the letters and both the British ambassador and the British Consul General pledged to bring the messages to the British Prime Minister.
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May 17, 2004

Athens mayor questions Italians about return of fragment of Parthenon

Posted at 5:08 pm in Elgin Marbles

In 2002, the Italian Government announced that they were going to return a fragment of the Parthenon frieze back to Greece. Since then, due to arguments between the museum in Palermo (which currently holds the piece) & the Italian government, the piece has still not been returned.

From:
Kathimerinini English Edition

Monday May 17, 2004
Papal blessings for Olympics organizers

VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope John Paul II urged on Saturday that the forthcoming Olympics should be a show of fraternity and peace, and offered his blessings to the organizers.
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May 13, 2004

Debate on Elgin Marbles restitution stirs up controversy

Posted at 5:14 pm in Elgin Marbles

An Oxford Union debate on the Elgin Marbles has stirred up controversy, after many of the speakers against restitution dropped out.

From:
The Oxford Student

13th May 2004
Elgin Marbles Debate mired in controversy
Gemma Varley

A prominent speaker dramatically pulled out of a Union debate on Sunday amid accusations that it was rigged.

Michael Daley, a leading archaeologist and campaigner for the protection of British Museum collections, refused to speak in the debate with the motion, “This house believes the Elgin Marbles [as they are commonly referred to] should be returned to Greece”. He claimed that the organisers were trying to force the debate in favour of the marbles repatriation to Greece.
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May 8, 2004

Boris Johnson wants Greeks to have replica of Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 5:19 pm in Elgin Marbles

After being made shadow Arts minister, Boris Johnson listed a six point programme of what he would do if the Conservative party got into power. One of his proposals was that the Greeks should be given an indistinguishable replica of the Elgin Marbles to stop any further arguments on the subject. Boris Johnson has spoken out a number of times in the past against campaigns to return the sculptures to Greece.

From:
The Guardian

Tory spokesman Johnson spells out arts plan
Nicholas Watt, political correspondent
Friday May 7, 2004
The Guardian

With his tousled blond hair and jolly appearances on Have I Got New For You?, Boris Johnson was once written off as a political lightweight.

But the man who was told by Michael Portillo to “choose politics or comedy” strode forth yesterday as a Tory big beast of the future when he was appointed shadow arts minister.
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May 6, 2004

Parthenon Lost – A Socratic dialogue

Posted at 5:25 pm in Elgin Marbles

Philosopher & playwright Constantine Sandis has written a Socratic Dialogue about the Parthenon Sculptures. This play, Parthenon Lost is due to be performed in Oxford, as part of the Oxford University Greek festival.

From:
Oxford Greek Festival news

Parthenon Lost
A Dialogue about the Parthenon Sculptures
By Constantine Sandis
STARRING MICHAEL PENNINGTON AS SOCRATES

Parthenon Lost is a one-act playlet of intelligence and revealing humour, which uses the form of Socratic dialogue to illuminate the moral and philosophical questions raised by the Parthenon marbles.
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May 3, 2004

The delays to the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 5:33 pm in New Acropolis Museum

A somewhat misleading article by the Daily Telegraph about the New Acropolis Museum in Athens. The article accuses the Greeks of destroying archaeological remains on the site, but anyone who studies the case in detail will see that every possible action was taken to avoid such a thing happening. Wherever you dig in a city as old as Athens you are going to be close to important remains – in this case though, they have been turned into a political argument, both between the three largest Greek parties & between Greece & Britain.

From:
Daily Telegraph

Is Athens’ Olympic dream turning to dust?
(Filed: 03/05/2004)

The city is still a giant building site as many projects for this summer’s games, including the stadium’s crowning glory, remain uncompleted. Giles Worsley reports

There are two things you notice as you arrive in Athens late at night. The first is an impressive motorway, completed earlier this year, which whisks you into the city from the large new airport opened in 2001. The second is that all the cars parked along the side of the streets seem to be covered in dust. Athens has become a vast building site as the Greeks race to make the city ready for the Olympics, which open in less than four months. What you do not see from the motorway by night, though they are prominent landmarks by day, are the two great arches that should already support the Olympic Stadium roof. Whether that will be finished for August 13 will probably be the most nail-biting race in the whole games.
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April 20, 2004

Plans to finish the Edinburgh Parthenon

Posted at 9:26 pm in Acropolis

Around the world there are a number of replicas of the Parthenon, most notably one in Nashville. Edinburgh (a city that sometimes describes itself as “the Athens of the North”) has the beginnings of a replica which was never completed.
Now an architect has put forward a proposal to complete it using flagpoles to finish the remaining columns.

From:
Edinburgh Evening News

Tue 20 Apr 2004
Architect flags up plan to finish ‘Edinburgh’s Disgrace’
ALAN MCEWEN

FOR almost 200 years it has stood as one of the city’s best known and best loved landmarks despite being only half-built.

But now one of Scotland’s leading architects has unveiled plans to complete the unfinished “Parthenon” on Calton Hill.
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