The British Museum has once again reiterated that they would consider loaning the Parthenon Marbles it has, but that "Greece can forget about their return". This was in the context of a recent announcement that it was ready to discuss return of some of the marble pieces:
New Acropolis Museum Director Demetrios Pantermalis said on Aug. 23 that at a UNESCO meeting in June he had suggested the return of small fragments from the famous Parthenon Marbles to Greece, 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 told SKAI Radio. “The proposal has been accepted in principle, we will have a discussion in the autumn,” he said. British Museum officials denied it, saying they had agreed only to “explore” a research partnership on the detached fragments of the Parthenon sculptures in Athens, London and elsewhere. [...] "The trustees of the British Museum will consider – subject to the usual considerations of condition and fitness to travel — any request for any part of the collection to be borrowed and then returned,” it said.The British Museum has consistently rejected successive Greek calls for the return of the Marbles ripped off the building in 1801 to 1812, arguing that the sculptures "are part of world heritage and are more accessible to visitors in London". British Museum spokeswoman Hannah Boulton in 2009 said that "the museum would consider loaning the Marbles to Greece for three months on condition that Athens recognize the museum’s ownership rights to the sculptures". Three MONTHS? That would hardly be worth the packing, cost of transport and insurance would it? What "ownership rights" would those be?
I wonder whether on a par with the finders' rewards the museums of Britain pay artefact hunters, full market value, in order to establish those "owners' rights" the Museum would be willing to pay the Greek government the full market value of every single fragment of the Parthenon Marbles it intends to keep as long as possible. How much would a single Parthenon Metope with good collecting history going back to 1801 to 1812 be worth if it came onto the open market individually? Can Britain afford to pay the actual cost of what it has in effect stolen from the Greeks? Today's value of the £35000 the British Museum paid Lord Elgin for the marbles in 1816 seems to be about £2,090,000. These days that will not even buy a single Roman copper alloy parade helmet.
Andy Dabilis, 'British Museum: No Return of Parthenon Marbles', Greek Reporter August 26, 2012