London, Athens could share Parthenon Marbles in deal

LONDON – The chairman of the British Museum said on Thursday that the UK and Greece are working on a deal that would see his institution’s Parthenon marbles displayed in both London and Athens.

George Osborne said talks with the Greek government had been “constructive”.

“I think there is a way forward where these sculptures … can be seen in both London and Athens and that will be a win-win for Greece and for us,” he told the BBC.

Also known as the Elgin Marbles, the Antiquities consist largely of the remains of a frieze that ran around the outer walls of the Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis in Athens.

In the 5th century B.C. Carved around 3000 BC, they were taken by the British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century and ended up in the British Museum, which for decades rejected Greek demands for their return.

Athens argues that the sculptures were illegally stolen when Greece was under Ottoman-Turkish occupation and should be returned for permanent display alongside the other surviving Parthenon sculptures housed in the Greek capital’s Acropolis Museum.

The British Museum i n insists that it not liquidate its collectionbut recently the tone has changed as museums around the world seek to allay concerns about the way ancient artifacts were acquired during times of imperial rule and colonial expansion.

The museum has said it wants a “Parthenon partnership” with Greece.

Osborne, a former UK Treasury chief, said he was “fairly optimistic” about completing a deal but warned that “it might go nowhere”.

“It’s a very difficult problem to solve, but I think there is a way forward,” he said.

In December, Pope Francis said he would send back to Greece three smaller fragments of sculptures from the Parthenon that the Vatican Museums have held for two centuries.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. London, Athens could share Parthenon Marbles in deal

Sarah Y. Kim

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