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Restitution arguments in Europe

The Elgin Marbles is the most prominent, but far from the only restitution argument affecting Europe’s museums.

IC Wales [1]

Give us back our marbles, say Greeks
Nov 24 2007 by Rhodri Clark, Western Mail

After colonial rule and two world wars, there are arguments galore in Europe over where historic artefacts should reside

The Elgin Marbles, below, are at the centre of the biggest controversy over repatriation. The sculptures originally decorated ancient buildings in Athens but were moved to Britain 200 years ago by Lord Elgin. Now at the British Museum, London, they are the subject of a long-running campaign to return them to Greece.

The Lichfield Gospels contain the oldest known written words in Welsh, because the book was in Llandeilo before being moved to Lichfield Cathedral. Cathedral authorities have rejected requests from campaigners in Wales for its repatriation.

Ethiopia has asked Scotland to return a centuries-old ceremonial drum taken by British troops in 1868.

More than 60 years since the end of World War II some arguments have still not been settled over art and other valuables taken by Nazis from countries they occupied and from Jewish families.

Germany wants Russia to return 700 gold and silver valuables moved to Moscow in 1945. It says the objects belong to a Berlin museum.

Welsh historians and shipping enthusiasts wanted the remains of the Fleetwing, a ship built in Porthmadog in 1874, returned to Wales from the Falkland Islands. Marine archaeologist Michael Bowyer says a quay has been extended over the remains within the past 12 months.

Last month France agreed to return to New Zealand the mummified head of a Maori warrior.