There’s an ongoing archaeological dispute between Britain and Greece over the Parthenon Marbles. They are currently in the British Museum but Greece wants them back.
Also known as the Elgin Marbles, these 2,500-year-old sculptures once adorned the Parthenon temple in Athens. They were removed by the British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, who claimed he had a firman (permit) from the Sultan, when Greece was under Ottoman Turkish rule. But their removal from Greece has caused a great deal of controversy and several requests have been made over the years to return them to the country.
A major source of contention is the legality of Lord Elgin’s actions, with some questioning whether he even had a permit. Others say that his actions should be judged based on the times in which he lived.
There’s also an ongoing argument regarding the fulfillment of repatriation demands. For example, one side says that cultural heritage should be returned to the country from which it came and the other side states that fulfilling these requests will empty the collections of the world’s greatest museums.
Finally, people on both sides of the Parthenon Marbles debate have questioned the ability of the other side to properly care for and preserve the artifacts.
What do you think should happen to the Parthenon Marbles? Where do you think they belong?