A Conversation for The Story of the Elgin Marbles

Elgin Marbles

Post 1


You raise a couple good points - it is very probable that had the marbles not been removed from the original site they would not now exist; they would have either been broken up and recycled as material for buildings, or they would have corroded away due to air pollution as has happened to so many other artifacts.

There is also the issue of setting precedents - if the martbles are returned to their source, this effectively means that every museum in the world is open for plundering; I'm sure that they all have artifacts that were in other countries. Perhaps New York and London should also think about returning some of the non-museum stuff - Cleopatras Needle in London, and its twin obelisk in New York (I think) come to mind>

There is already a campaign to have the stones of Stonehenge returned to their native Wales!

Elgin Marbles

Post 2


On the care front, I believe there was a report that the marbles are no longer in the state in which they were acquired. "Cleaning" of them has had an effect apparently.
On the returning things front, it has already begun. The Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow bought a Native American shirt, associated with the Ghost Dancing religon of the late nineteenth century, from a traveling cowboy show at the beginning of the twentieth century. It might have been Buffalo Bills show but I am not sure. The American natives claim it is a sacred shirt, as it was worn at the time of a massacre by the US army, there may even be bullet holes in it. After much deliberation, and considered appeals from both sides of the argument, a deal was reached. The Americans handmade a replica which was swapped for the original. Thus, the Native Americans now have their religous article back a Glasgow school kids can still see a real "Indian" shirt and learn all about North American history. This has not opened the floodgates for the return of all the "overseas" articles kept in Glasgow.
This is only one example, and I am sure that each item should be considered on its own merits, but it proves that both sides can come to an arrangement.

Elgin Marbles

Post 3


Vaguely remember something about the Glasgow museum /Indian shirt.

Perhaps this is the solution - make duplicates of everything.

If Stonehenge were fibreglass, the authorities could let all the people who wear white frocks on midsummer day dance on the stones to their hearts content, knowing that any damage could be easily touched up with a car body repair kit!

I have already seen an "ancient monolith" in MAlta that is actually made of concrete because exposure to the elements caused the original to decompose.

Elgin Marbles

Post 4


There is also the French cave paintings that come under this. Too many tourists were breathing on the paintings, causing damage. Thus they photographed everythig and built a fake cave, to save the original from damage. Now this I am for, but you have to be careful or we will end up fibreglassing everything and junking the originals for being too fiddly to look after. All sounds a bit too American to me (he said with a totally false sense of cultural superiority smiley - smiley )

Rebuilding ancient monuments

Post 5

Wand'rin star

Many city centres were completely rebuilt after WWII (Gdansk and Warsaw brick by brick) Most Chinese momuments have been heavily restored, if not rebuilt.It may be a trend - theme parks etc?- but would ruin my life if the goals to the wanderings become computer simulations smiley - sadface

Elgin Marbles

Post 6


Fakes are a good idea for some things, museum stuff to show, for instance, hate the idea of a "fibreglass Henge" a stone repro of the site as it was originally constructed would be cool (leave the old one where it is though) (Tell the Welsh they can have the stones back as long as they take Neil Kinnock and Harry Secombe with them ~grin~ ). seriously that sounds like a dumb idea. I find it hard to beleive that is a genuine campaign. maybe they could add provisos like the Elgin Marbles they can have them back if they can find the exact spot they were in and restore the site to the state it was in before they were quarried.
the French cave painting idea sopunds like a winner.
I've been joking around but it really is a tricky issue, what do we preserve these things for? future scholars? not for the people obviously or they would be able to see the real thing. I went to stone Henge when I was young and climbed on the stones, it is a great memory, now you can't even see it as you drive by, it is really sad, I don't think I would have cared if it was a copy at that age but being in the presence of something so ancient has got to be inspiring. to older kids and adults alike. I am probably part of the last generation who got to truly connect with history in that way. Any ideas anyone?
slight Change of subject I really liked the idea someone had for the milenium celebrations of building a reproduction of Stone Henge out of glass. Don't know how long it would have lasted but I'm sure it would have been a longer lived monument to the millenium than the Millenium Dome is going to be.

Elgin Marbles

Post 7


You drive a hard bargain - we don't want Neil Kinnock back - that's why we sent him to Brussels!

smiley - smiley

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