thinking about archaeology

I’m a great fan of Stephen Fry, but…

he did say some silly things in his blog about the Parthenon last year, which just got picked up by the media after a restitution group published an open letter to David Cameron. Returning the British Museum marbles to Greece is a single, nationalistic issue, and linking that to the London 2012 Olympics diminishes them – the games should be bigger than that. I tried to put it into some sort of context in this piece in today’s Guardian.

2 responses

  1. There are several points in the Elgin Marbles restitution argument (and the restitution of museum objects in general) that might be worth remembering Mike. The first (unless the law has changed) is that the British Museum is unable to dispose, by any means, of an object in its collection. That, and national interests aside, would it actually benefit humanity to return the Elgin Marbles to their place of origin? The Marbles are a good example where it would not, as they would inevitably end up in the Acropolis Museum, not on the Parthenon, where they would be seen by fewer people than at present. Ironically, during the Olympics this year, more people are likely to see the Marbles at the British Museum than they would if they were on display in Athens. It’s also worth asking whether an object would be better conserved and displayed in its new location than its present location – if it isn’t then the case for restitution becomes null and void.

    April 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

  2. Pingback: Common sense and common courtesy « The Heritage Trust

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