Quote of the Day

For us, even a gram from the Parthenon equals thousands of years of world history.

Giorgos Voulgarakis, Former Hellenic Republic Minister of Culture

November 12, 2003

Saving antiquities for the Nation

Posted at 8:52 am in Similar cases

Often, when an artwork in the UK comes up for sale, much is made about how it must be saved for the nation – to prevent it falling into the hands of a collector of museum abroad. When countries such as Greece request the return of their artefacts however, their statements are criticised as being purely nationalistic.

From:
Guardian

Tate chief attacks ‘save for the nation’ art policy
Fiachra Gibbons, arts correspondent
Wednesday November 12, 2003
The Guardian

Sir Nicholas Serota, the most powerful man in the museum world, dramatically broke ranks with his colleagues yesterday to challenge the idea that vast sums of money should be spent to stop important works of art leaving Britain.

The director of the Tate museums delivered a devastating indictment of the reflex to blindly save treasures “for the nation” when foreign collectors or museums try to buy them, a sacred cow of cultural policy until now.
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November 11, 2003

British Olympic medal winners want the Elgin Marbles returned

Posted at 8:56 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Thirteen former British Olympic medal winners have put their support behind campaigns to return the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece.

From:
Reuters

Top British Olympians want Elgin Marbles returned
Tue 11 November, 2003 13:10
By Deborah Kyvrikosaios

ATHENS (Reuters) – The government has come under fire from some of its own greatest Olympians for refusing to return to Greece the so-called Elgin marbles in time for next year’s Athens Games.

In a coup for Greece’s campaign to right what it regards as an historical wrong, household names including Linford Christie, Daley Thompson, Alan Wells, Jonathan Edwards and Steve Smith added their voices to demands the British Museum give up the 2,500 year-old sculptures.
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November 8, 2003

Debates over the ownership of stolen artwork

Posted at 9:07 am in Similar cases

Italy’s plans to return the Axum Obelisk to Ethiopia re-open the debate about whether items of stolen cultural property should be returned to their countries of origin.

From:
Guardian

Ownership of Stolen Artwork Debated
Saturday November 8, 2003 8:46 PM
By TOM RACHMAN
Associated Press Writer

ROME (AP) – An ancient obelisk that Italian Fascist forces hauled out of Ethiopia in the 1930s is being disassembled in central Rome for its journey home – a rare restitution that comes amid international debate over the rightful ownership of looted works.

A major step in the complicated return of the fragile yet weighty Axum Obelisk came Friday, when workers removed a 22-foot-long chunk from the top that weighs about 40 tons.
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Axum Obelisk prepared for return to Africa

Posted at 9:02 am in Similar cases

Work has now begun on the project to return the Axum Obelisk from Italy to Ethipia.

From:
MSNBC

Stolen obelisk heading home to Africa raises issue of looted art worldwide
ASSOCIATED PRESS
ROME, Nov. 8 — An ancient obelisk that Italian Fascist forces hauled out of Ethiopia in the 1930s is being disassembled in central Rome for its journey home — a rare restitution that comes amid international debate over the rightful ownership of looted works.

A major step in the complicated return of the fragile yet weighty Axum Obelisk came Friday, when workers removed a 22-foot-long chunk from the top that weighs about 40 tons.

Seeing part of the 1,700-year-old monument swinging from a crane — and headed home — prompted a group of Ethiopians to burst into cries of delight.
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November 3, 2003

Haida bones returned by Chicago’s Field Museum

Posted at 9:19 am in Similar cases

The remains of over one hundred of their ancestors have been returned to the Haida First Nations tribe in Canada by Chicago’s Field Museum.

From:
Times Colonist (Canada)

The Homecoming
Haida rejoice as ancestral bones return to rest
Jack Knox
Times Colonist

OLD MASSETT, Queen Charlotte Islands – They carried the 46 boxes of bones out of St. John’s Anglican church and drove them to the cemetery Saturday — past the totem poles towering out of the earth, past the hip and funky Haida Rose Cafe, past the weather-beaten homes with the red Haida Nation flags drooping in the rain.

Not a long drive, certainly not as long as the long haul to Chicago, from where the Haida just retrieved the remains of close to 150 ancestors snatched from their resting places in the name of science a century ago. The bones had spent the last 100 years packed away in the Field Museum of Natural History, where they had been taken after being scooped up by anthropologists.
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October 26, 2003

Looted mummy of Ramses I returned to Egypt by Atlanta’s Michael Carlos Museum

Posted at 9:27 am in Similar cases

An Egyptian mummy taken from the country over 140 years ago, has been returned by the Michael Carlos Museum, after tests indicated that it was probably the body of Pharaoh Ramses I.

From:
BBC News

Last Updated: Sunday, 26 October, 2003, 14:44 GMT
Egypt’s ‘Ramses’ mummy returned

An ancient Egyptian mummy thought to be that of Pharaoh Ramses I has returned home after more than 140 years in North American museums.

The body was carried off the plane in Cairo in a box draped in Egypt’s flag.
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October 24, 2003

Looted Axum Obelisk to return home to Ethiopia

Posted at 9:36 am in Similar cases

The Axum Obelisk was taken from Ethiopia by Mussolini’s forces in 1937, after they had conquered the country. Plans are now under-way to return it back to its original location.

From:
Globe & Mail (Canada)

Friday, Oct. 24, 2003
A monumental plunder:
Massive object was taken from Ethiopia by Mussolini, ALAN FREEMAN reports from Rome
By ALAN FREEMAN
From Friday’s Globe and Mail

The Aksum obelisk is finally about to go home to Ethiopia, if only a way can be found to get it there.After years of delays and prevarications, the Italian government has decided to return the 24-metre-high granite funeral stele — plundered by the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini in 1937 as booty from his newly conquered African empire.

Scaffolding already obscures the obelisk, which stands on the curbside of a busy piazza in central Rome.
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October 20, 2003

Greek PM gets into trouble for asking Tony Blair for help with Elgin Marbles

Posted at 7:42 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis has sparked a media furore after his comments to Tony Blair about the Parthenon Marbles were overheard.

From:
BBC News

Last Updated: Saturday, 18 October, 2003, 05:35 GMT 06:35 UK
Greek PM in Elgin marbles upset

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis has sparked outrage among opposition parties after telling his British counterpart, Tony Blair, that returning the Elgin Marbles, could help his re-election bid.

The row broke out after Greek television stations aired a clip of Mr Simitis – apparently unaware of nearby cameras – talking to Mr Blair about the marbles at the sidelines of the European Union summit in Brussels on Thursday.
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October 7, 2003

Elgin Marbles deal denied

Posted at 8:08 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

News reports have suggested that there has been a deal on the table, for Britain to return the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece, in return for Greece supporting London’s Olympic bid. However, it appears that there are no hard facts to back up this story.

From:
Kathimerini (English Edition)

Tuesday October 7, 2003
London denies Marbles deal

LONDON (AFP) – Britain denied yesterday a tabloid report that it was to send the Elgin Marbles back to Greece in time for the 2004 Athens Olympics in return for Greek support of London’s own Olympic bid.

“The article isn’t true at all,” a culture department spokeswoman told AFP, referring to a report that Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell was ready to reopen talks with Athens over the fifth-century BC sculptures removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin between 1801-1811.
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Marbles Reunited exhibition opens in London

Posted at 8:03 am in Elgin Marbles, Marbles Reunited

A new exhibition about the benefits of reuniting the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens has gone on display at ICA in London.

From:
BBC News

Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Marbles exhibition opens in London

A virtual exhibition, which shows how the Elgin Marbles would look if they were reunited, has opened in London.

Marbles Reunited shows those sculptures removed from Greece 200 years ago by Lord Elgin next to those which remained in Athens.
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September 19, 2003

Namgis First Nations tribe ask British Museum to return masks

Posted at 8:13 am in British Museum, Similar cases

A Canadian First Nations group has requested that the British Museum returns some masks that were taken from their ancestors, but the British Museum has declined to consider the case for returning them.

From:
New York Times

ALERT BAY JOURNAL
September 18, 2003
Reclaiming the Stolen Faces of Their Forefathers
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

ALERT BAY, British Columbia — A local newspaper column last year suggested that the Namgis, a small band of Native Canadians in British Columbia, ought to go to London and steal the Crown Jewels to get some bargaining leverage over the British Museum.

The half facetious idea came after the group had tried diplomacy for several years to get back a beloved wooden mask stolen from them 82 years ago that is now boxed up in a storage room of the museum.
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September 7, 2003

Construction firm apointed for New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 8:19 am in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

The Greek government has appointed the construction firm ALTE, for the works on the New Acropolis Museum, which are expected to proceed more rapidly now that this decision has been made.

From:
Kathimerini (English Edition)

Saturday September 6, 2003
New museum lurches forward

In a first tangible indication that plans to build a new Acropolis Museum under the ancient citadel are still alive, the government has awarded the 50-million-euro contract to Greek construction firm ALTE, a report said yesterday.

The Athens News Agency said ALTE had been declared “provisional” winner of the tender after bids were opened on Tuesday. The contract calls for completion of the project within two years, which confirms that the museum will not be ready in time for next summer’s Olympics, as Athens had initially maintained. However, the deal involves completion of the “external shell” of the building nine months after construction starts, according to ANA. This would seem to bear out government pledges that at least part of the museum will be standing in August 2004.

Availability of the museum during the Games is a basic tenet of Greece’s campaign for the return of the British Museum’s Elgin Collection of sculptures from the Parthenon, even as a loan. Originally, the building’s foundations were supposed to have been laid in the summer of 2002.