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Success with sculpture move rehearsal

More coverage from various sources on the successful trial run [1] for the move of sculptures from the Acropolis to the New Acropolis Museum.

Kathimerini (English edition) [2]

Friday October 12, 2007
Test for Acropolis move a success

A test run for an ambitious project to relocate thousands of treasured antiquities from the Acropolis to the new Acropolis Museum was completed successfully yesterday, officials said.

The exercise was in preparation for the real test on Sunday, when cranes will start moving the first of some 4,500 ancient artifacts into the museum designed by US-based architect Bernard Tschumi and due to open fully to the public late next year.

Yesterday’s operation lasted two-and-half hours and involved three 50-meter cranes slowly moving a 3-ton block of marble into the top floor of the museum.

“If we had put a cup of coffee on top of the crate, it would have stayed in place,” said Costas Zambas, the engineer supervising the move.

To ensure that no harm comes to the artifacts – insured for –400 million – they will be carefully padded and boxed and transferred extremely slowly, meaning the process will take several weeks. But officials were confident that the antiquities will all be in their new home by early next year.

“Within three months from today, the new museum will host the artifacts which will be moved for the first time in 2,500 years – at least the first time legally,” Culture Minister Michalis Liapis said, referring to the removal of pieces of the Parthenon by Britain’s Lord Elgin 200 years ago.

According to the director of the new museum, Dimitris Pantermalis, the absence of the Parthenon Marbles – in the British Museum since their removal by Elgin – “is the most eloquent way to present the problem.” “We want visitors to wonder where these artifacts are,” he said.

On Sunday morning, when the relocation project is set to begin, cranes are to move a 2,500-year-old marble block, weighing 2.3 tons, from the Parthenon frieze. Most of the artifacts date to the 6th and 5th centuries BC.

The entire move – described by Liapis yesterday as “an historic event of major national importance” – is expected to cost 1.6 million euros.

France 24 [3]

Greece to relocate Acropolis statues
Friday, October 12, 2007

Greek authorities held a dress rehearsal on Thursday for the relocation of hundreds of iconic statues and friezes from the Acropolis to a sprawling new museum located below the ancient Athens landmark.

Three giant cranes, stationed between the current museum near the famed Parthenon temple and the new site located about 300 metres (984 feet) downhill, were given a test run with a 2.5-tonne slab of marble.

The first real relic — a marble sculpture weighing 2.3 tonnes — will be moved on Sunday.

Part of a frieze depicting a procession honouring the ancient Greek goddess Athena, it will be packed in a metal container, like all the 300-odd relics to be transferred.

The whole operation is expected to cost 1.6 million euros (2.2 million dollars) and take six weeks.

Several archaeologists, engineers, restoration experts and technicians attended Thursday’s test run which took about two hours.

The new museum which will house Greece’s Parthenon collection and other finds from the Acropolis is designed by Swiss-born architect Bernard Tschumi and is due to open to the public in early 2008.

Greece is actively lobbying for the return of the Elgin Marbles — part of the iconic structure of the Parthenon, which were removed by agents of Britain’s ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Lord Elgin and taken to London in the early 19th century.

Greece has demanded their return for decades, but the British Museum which eventually purchased them has long argued they should remain in London.

Greek Culture Minister Michalis Liapis, who attended Thursday’s run-through, stressed that the whole weekend operation was “technically very difficult and delicate.”

“We hope that within three months all the relics will have been transported to the new museum,” Liapis said, adding: “The millions of visitors to the new museum will be our best allies for the return of the Elgin Marbles.”

The new museum, chosen from a shortlist of 12, includes a rectangular glass gallery that will display the Parthenon Marbles with exactly the same dimensions they once occupied on the Parthenon.

The 129-million-euro building was originally intended to have been built before the 2004 Athens Olympics but construction was delayed due to a series of bureaucratic and other hurdles.

The three-storey structure spanning 25,000 square metres (nearly 270,000 square feet) will mainly house relics and artefacts dating back to between 800 and 500 B.C from other historical sites such as the Athena Nike temple, dedicated to the Greek goddess of victory.

Meanwhile, Greek authorities were keeping their fingers crossed for clear skies over the weekend.

“In case of storms or strong winds, we will stop the move because our primary consideration is to ensure the safety of the relics,” the culture minister said.

One of the world’s most visited sites, the Acropolis was formally proclaimed as the pre-eminent monument on the European Cultural Heritage list of monuments on the March 26 this year. It dates back to the golden age of Athenian democracy which began in the fifth century B.C.

The Post Chronicle (New York) [4]

Breaking News
Published: Oct 12, 2007
Museum Ready For Acropolis Exhibits
by Staff

Greek antiquities experts are preparing for the delicate transfer of exhibits from the old Acropolis museum to a new facility.

The Athens News Agency said a practice run Thursday was successful, with three industrial cranes maneuvering a container carrying a 2.5-ton block of marble a quarter mile from atop the Acropolis hill to the new glass and steel facility.

The cranes will transfer of a section of the western frieze of the Parthenon Temple from the old museum to the top floor of the new Parthenon Hall Sunday, ANA said. (c) UPI