2012 Archived News

Greece in talks on Parthenon fragments: museum director

ATHENS: Greece is in talks with the British Museum on the return of fragments  from the Parthenon Marbles.

Demetrios Pantermalis, director of Athens’ Acropolis Museum said Thursday (23 August 2012)  he’d made a proposal on the issue at a UNESCO meeting in June and that talks  would be held in Athens in the coming weeks.

“I proposed an arrangement to colleagues from the British Museum, involving  pieces – hands, heads, legs – that belong to bodies from the Parthenon  sculptures and can be reattached,” Pantermalis said. “The proposal has been  accepted in principle.”

Greece has long campaigned for the return of the priceless friezes, removed  in 1806 by Lord Elgin and later sold to the British Museum.

The British Museum has turned down successive Greek calls for their return,  arguing that the sculptures are part of world heritage and are more accessible  to visitors in London.

Inaugurated in June 2009, the new Acropolis Museum includes a section  reserved for the disputed collection.

As culture minister in 2009, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had turned down a British Museum loan offer for the Marbles.

British Museum spokeswoman Hannah Boulton had then said that her museum  could consider loaning the Marbles to Greece for three months on condition that  Athens recognize the museum’s ownership rights to the sculptures.