Showing results 1 - 12 of 22 for the month of November, 2005.

November 30, 2005

British Museum returns Kenyan treasures (temporarily)

Posted at 6:12 pm in Similar cases

For some time now, the British Museum has been publicising its decision to loan a number of Kenyan artefacts to Kenya for a temporary exhibition. Whilst this is a positive step in the right direction, should we really be congratulating the museum for offering to lend for a short period, artefacts that were in many cases acquired in dubious circumstances – to the very people that they were taken from in the first place? It seems that at present, in many ways this is a win-win situation for the British Museum – they get the publicity for their grand gesture to a poorer country, but they get the artefacts back soon after anyway.

The Independent

30 November 2005
British Museum returns African treasures for Kenyan exhibition
Published: 30 November 2005

When the Kenyan curator Kiprop Lagat was invited in to the British Museum this year, he was given free rein to peruse all the 12,000 treasures in its vast eastern Africa collections.

Now, in a groundbreaking deal which could resolve decades of bickering over Britain’s colonial plundering, 140 of those items are going back to Africa for the first time for a special exhibition which will open in Nairobi in the spring.
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November 27, 2005

New initiatives in support of the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 7:05 pm in Acropolis, Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

Last Friday, heads of many of the international committees for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles met together in Athens. It was the first time such an event had been organised & that so many of the committees had met together.
Early in the day, a number of decisions were taken by the twelve committees present. The most important decision taken was to form an International Committee – essentially an umbrella organisation of which all the national committees are members. This international committee (name yet to be decided) will, amongst other things, help to co-ordinate the efforts of the various committees (fifteen at present) to avoid unnecessary duplication of their efforts etc.
A second decision taken was to make a declaration of support for the reunification of the sculptures – a statement on which all the member organisations were agreed, that represents the basic essence of their intentions & purpose.

Whilst in Athens, the campaigners also met with Karolos Papoulias (the president of the Hellenic Republic) & Kostas Karamanlis (the prime minister of the Hellenic Republic) as well as discussing the issue in detail with Petros Tatoulis, the deputy minister of Culture.

Below follow various articles covering this meeting.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Saturday November 26, 2005
‘Moral duty’ to bring Parthenon Marbles back home


President Karolos Papoulias yesterday received the members of 12 international committees for the return of the Parthenon Marbles in Greece at the invitation of Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis, who accompanied them to the Presidential Palace. Papoulias thanked them for their «generous effort.» «The Elgin Marbles were seized during a period of history where the strong had the power of life and death over the weak. Now that time has passed. Now we serve other moral values and I believe that it is a moral duty to bring those treasures of Greek civilization back to their homeland… It is not an easy battle,» Read the rest of this entry »

Stolen antiquities & the attitudes of museums

Posted at 5:44 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Due to the power (either now, or at the time acquisitions were made) of the worlds most well known museums, in almost all restitution cases, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff.. Museums either do not understand (or pretend not to understand) that so many of these cases are not about the prestige of a particular object, or the monetary value of it, but that the artefact in question relates to or helps to define the identity of the nation from which it was removed.

Philadelphia Enquirer

Posted on Sun, Nov. 27, 2005
Stolen Antiquities
Editorial | Finders shouldn’t be keepers

In the old days, museums in the West got fat off the carcass of the ancient world. Explorers stole old, priceless artifacts, kidnapped them home, and stuck them in museums. Prestigious collections kept donations rolling in, so, if some goods had a dubious origin, curators just kept mum. Museums thus became massive monuments to colonialist, paternalist condescension and rapine.

True, the antiquities market is, well, shady. A seller brings you an Olmec jaguar mask, a Chinese jade necklace. He might be honest – but how about the seller before him? Many curators used to say: “Maybe it was stolen. But better for us to buy it than let it go to some private collection where the public will never see it again.”
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How are US museums dealing with looted artefact claims?

Posted at 5:37 pm in Similar cases

A few years ago, a number of the worlds most prestigious museums issued a statement, heavily based on the concept of the Universal Museum. The New York Times looks at the conflict between the concept of the Universal Museum & attempts by many countries to clamp down on the trade in looted artefacts. Many of the most publicised cases at present involve museums in the US, but this is more due to the period when most acquisitions were being made, rather than any higher standard of ethics in European institutions.

New York Times

November 25, 2005
Why ‘Antiquities Trials’ Focus on America

PARIS — A stroll through any one of a score of major museums around the world can provoke amazement at the beauty of stone reliefs, marble statues, ceramic vases and delicate gold and silverware, all dating back to the great civilizations of the distant past.

The same displays, however, can also prompt the question: How did they get there?

For so-called universal museums intent on spreading enlightenment, this can be an irritating question. But for countries trying to halt or reverse illegal excavation and trafficking of their dug-up treasures, it is one increasingly worth pursuing.
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November 26, 2005

An international reunification committee

Posted at 5:18 pm in Elgin Marbles

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture have issued a press release, highlighting key points from the meeting in Athens of representatives from twelve national committees for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.

Hellenic Ministry of Culture

Athens, 25.11.2005

The Deputy Minister of Culture Mr. Petros Tatoulis, with the Presidents and the authorized members of the Committees for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles, today, on Friday 25th November, had a meeting with the President of the Democracy Mr. Karolos Papoulias at the Presidential Residence, as well as with the Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Mr. Kostas Karamanlis at the Maximou Residence.

Afterwards, they visited the Acropolis, where they were guided by the competent Director, Mrs. Alkistis Choremi, and were informed on the progress of the conservation and restoration works of the Acropolis by the Director of the Service for the Restoration of the Acropolis Monuments Mrs. Maria Ioannidou. The program continued with the visit to the place of the construction of the New Acropolis Museum, where they were informed by the President of the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum Mr. Dimitrios Pandermalis, who later guided them to the exhibition “Creating the exhibitional style of the New Acropolis Museum”, which has been running since August 2004, in the Weiler building.
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November 25, 2005

Is the Acropolis being washed away?

Posted at 6:36 pm in Acropolis

Unusually heavy rain & flooding in Greece has prompted suggestions that the seepage of water is damaging the foundations of the Acropolis. Archaeologists, architects & engineers involved in the current restoration works on the site all suggest that these suggestions are incorrect.

Middle East Times (Cairo)

Acropolis foundations threatened by seeping rainwater
November 25, 2005

ATHENS — Greek archaeologists worry that the foundations of the Acropolis monument are threatened by rainwater that has seeped into the soil of the ancient citadel, the Greek press said on Thursday.

Of most concern is the fifth-century BC Parthenon temple, whose roof was destroyed during a seventeenth-century siege of the Acropolis by Venetian forces.
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Book on the Athena Statue in the Parthenon

Posted at 6:29 pm in Acropolis

Nashville artist, Louise LeQuire has written a children’s book about the statue of Athena that once sat within the Parthenon. Her own son was the sculptor of the speculative reproduction of the sculpture that fills the interior of Nashville’s copy of the Parthenon.

Nashville Scene



Nashville artist LeQuire is uniquely qualified to write a children’s book about the Athena statue inside the Parthenon: her son, Alan, was the sculptor. It took the younger LeQuire nearly a decade to build the full-scale re-creation of the Athena Parthenos statue that once stood on the site of Greek Acropolis. During that time, until its completion in 1990, Louise LeQuire paid frequent visits to see how the massive project was coming, often with her grandchildren in tow. It was their questions about the statue that inspired her to write a children’s book about it. The result is Athena Smiles, in which a young girl learns about the ancient Greek rituals that surrounded the Greek goddess and her towering likeness in the Parthenon. The author/illustrator will sign copies of her book this Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon, at LeQuire Gallery, which is owned by son Alan. She’ll have another signing at The Parthenon, 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 3. —JONATHAN MARX


November 24, 2005

Meeting in Athens of committees for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 9:16 pm in Elgin Marbles

The Greek government have issued a press release in the lead up to the meeting of twelve national committees from around the world who are all working towards the return of the Elgin Marbles to Athens.

Greek Ministry of Culture

Athens, 23.11.2005

The Deputy Minister of Culture Mr. Petros Tatoulis along with the Chairs and the authorized members of the Committees for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles will be visiting the Acropolis on Friday 25th November 2005 and afterwards the building of the New Acropolis Museum, which is under construction.

The visit to the Acropolis will take place at 11.45 a.m. and to the site of the construction of the New Acropolis Museum at 12.30 p.m.
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November 23, 2005

Australia withdraws support for Ngarrindjeri artefacts claims

Posted at 5:51 pm in Similar cases

After a number of years of setting the world standard for dealing with claims for repatriation of artefacts, Australia has recently withdrawn financial support given to the Ngarrindjeri to pursue repatriation claims on artefacts overseas. This withdrawal of support has been noticed however by the World Archaeological Congress, whose president, Dr Claire Smith commented that she was “shocked and saddened by the Australian government’s recent actions”.

ABC News (Australia)

22 November 2005
NATIONAL: Ngarrindjeri Nation Obtains Support of World Archaeological Congress

Source: WAC
The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) has come out in support of the Ngarrindjeri Nation of South Australia in their attempts to regain appropriate cultural control over the international repatriation of ancestors looted from graves by early colonists and archaeologists.

The Ngarrindjeri cry for help is in response to a change in Australian government policy. Until recently, the Australian government provided full financial support for Ngarrindjeri Elders to visit collections of human remains in overseas institutions so they could conduct spiritual cleansing ceremonies prior to human remains being returned to Australia, and finally to country. These remains are held in institutions throughout the world, including the British Museum. Following the recent abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs) wrote to the Ngarrindjeri Nation informing them that this support would no longer be available.
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November 21, 2005

Alexis Bistikas & the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 5:28 pm in Elgin Marbles

The Thessaloniki film festival recently showed a tribute to the Greek film director Alexis Bistikas. One of the films shown was The Marbles, a short film that is simultaneously about the Elgin Marbles & Melina Mercouri. Alexis Bistikas died in 1995.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Monday November 21, 2005
Alexis Bistikas: A bold, provocative filmmaker
Film festival shows his work on 10th anniversary of his death

Demetris Nellas – Kathimerini English Edition

On Saturday, the Thessaloniki Film Festival presented the first part of a tribute to director Alexis Bistikas, who died 10 years ago.

Saturday’s showing included three of his seven short films: “The Marbles,” “The Tie” and “The Clearing.” Four speakers were on hand to comment upon Bistikas’s work: directors Eva Stephani and Lefteris Haritos, the latter his assistant in “The Clearing,” film critic Ilias Kanellis and Yiannis Kontaxopoulos, who had organized a retrospective of Bistikas’s films in Paris.
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November 19, 2005

President Papoulias briefed on campaign to return Elgin Marbles

Posted at 12:15 pm in Elgin Marbles

Next week, Petros Tatoulis, the Hellenic Republic’s deputy culture minister is meeting in Athens with the heads of the various committees around the world working to secure the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Saturday November 19, 2005
President briefed on Parthenon Marbles campaign

Greece’s ongoing demands for the return of the Parthenon sculptures has the warm support of President Karolos Papoulias, who was briefed on the Culture Ministry’s campaign abroad by Deputy Minister Petros Tatoulis Wednesday. Tatoulis is to meet with heads of committees calling for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, now in the British Museum. On November 25, Tatoulis is to meet with them at the exhibition on foreign archaeological schools on the ground floor of the Athens Concert Hall. Read the rest of this entry »

November 18, 2005

Museums under fire on ancient artefacts

Posted at 1:48 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Heavily publicised by the problems facing the Getty, this article suggests that we are going to see a shift in the way museums handle restitution cases, to bring their attitudes closer to those of the majority of the public who visit the museums.

New York Times

Museums Under Fire on Ancient Artifacts
Published: November 17, 2005

Three years ago, directors of some of the world’s top museums, meeting in Munich, commiserated over a major annoyance: the growing demands from countries like Greece and Italy that they return ancient artifacts.

What emerged from the meeting was a defiant statement defending their collecting practices. Signed by the directors of 18 museums – from the Louvre to the Hermitage in Russia to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles – the document argued that encyclopedic museums have a special mission as treasure houses of world culture, and that today’s ethical standards cannot be applied to yesterday’s acquisitions.
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