Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni has rejected a recent claim by the British Museum that many of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon sculptures removed by Lord Elgin’s agents in the early 19th century were found “in the rubble” around the monument.
The assertion was made by the London museum’s deputy director, Dr Jonathan Williams, during a meeting of UNESCO on Friday. “Much of the frieze was in fact removed from the rubble around the Parthenon… These objects were not all hacked from the building as has been suggested,” Williams was quoted as saying during the meeting.
In a statement published in the Guardian on Sunday, the Greek minister rebuffed the claim, while accusing Lord Elgin, then British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, of committing serial theft.
“Over the years, Greek authorities and the international scientific community have demonstrated with unshakeable arguments the true events surrounding the removal of the Parthenon sculptures,” Mendoni said. “Lord Elgin used illicit and inequitable means to seize and export the Parthenon sculptures, without real legal permission to do so, in a blatant act of serial theft,” she said.