British Museum refuses access to the Athens Acropolis Parthenon Marbles

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British Museum refuses access to the Athens Acropolis Parthenon MarblesThe Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA) in Oxford will take legal action against the British Museum following the institution’s inexplicable refusal to permit the Parthenon Sculptures to be scanned

The Institute of Digital Archaeology to appeal against the British Museum’s refusal to allow access to the Parthenon Sculptures, greekcitytimes.com reports.

The Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA) in Oxford will take legal action against the British Museum following the institution’s inexplicable refusal to permit the Parthenon Sculptures to be scanned in order to make marble replicas of the fragmented pieces, housed in London since 1816.

‘TA NEA’ reported on the rejected response, which infuriated the Institute, as it was denied access to the Duveen Gallery where the masterpieces of Pheidias are housed.

“I’m really surprised at how short-sighted people can be. This arbitrary refusal reveals the intransigence of the British Museum, its arrogance and snobbishness”, noted the director of the Institute, Roger Michel, to TA NEA.

IDA is a partnership between the universities of Oxford and Harvard. The project of reproducing the sculptures “with millimeter precision”, which was reported in TA NEA in January: the Institute will offer the copies to the British Museum, inviting it to return the originals to Greece. The initiative received wide publicity in Britain and was ‘applauded’ by the conservative press, the ‘Times’, and the ‘Telegraph’.

The request to photograph these sculptures with three-dimensional imaging cameras was submitted on 08 February. The answer came the day before yesterday. “Digital scanning plays an important role in research and can lead to new discoveries related to various objects such as the Parthenon Sculptures,” the response reads, adding, nevertheless, that “we are not in a position to approve your request. However, the reasons for the decision shall not be disclosed, nor shall any justification for declining the request be provided.”

“It took almost a month and a half to reply to our request. Every week they would email me and assure me that the request we made is very common and it will be effortless for them to respond positively. In the end, they rejected it, without giving us any explanation,” points out Michel, a scientific fellow of Trinity College of Oxford.

It was precisely this fact that made him choose to use the judicial route. “This is an arbitrary and irrational decision. The Museum’s refusal conceals a prejudice towards us. I do not think it is legally correct. The Museum, as a state-funded institution, must provide unhindered access to its premises.”

In April, the chief of the Institute will appeal this decision in a London court, stating that he is confident that he will be vindicated. “The Museum is obliged to treat all requests in the same way. As a public body, it is not entitled to act unjustifiably and arbitrarily. It does though. That’s why I believe that eventually we will be given (by the court) the right to scan the Sculptures”.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Solipsist~commonswiki

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