Sculptures deal close, Bloomberg reports

Sculptures deal close, Bloomberg reports

The British Museum and Athens’ Acropolis Museum are nearing a deal that would see the Parthenon Sculptures returned to Greece over time as part of a cultural exchange, according to a report by Bloomberg on Tuesday.

The deal would put an end to a battle over the ancient treasures that stretches back to the 1800s.

Citing persons familiar with the matter who declined to be identified because a deal hasn’t been finalized, Bloomberg said an agreement would see a part of the marble sculptures sent to Athens on a rotating basis over several years. Other pieces would be effectively loaned to the London museum in exchange, and Britain may even obtain plaster reproductions of the Parthenon statues.

According to these sources, any agreement may be similar to the one reached last year, in which Greece reclaimed 161 antique treasures from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. This deal, which also includes a Delaware-based cultural institution, will see marble sculptures collected by an American millionaire progressively returned to Greece after being presented at the Met, with other works traveling in the opposite direction, in a lengthy process lasting between 2023 and 2048.

The Sculptures were hacked from the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis in Athens by Lord Elgin, the British envoy to the Ottoman Empire, in the early 19th century and transferred to Britain. 

​​​​​​In recent decades, Greek governments have increased requests for their return.

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