Italy to return piece of Parthenon Sculpture to Greece in rolling loan agreement

Greek Culture Minister thanks US congressmen in favor for the repatriation of the Parthenon Sculptures marbles UNESCO

The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports announced that Italy will return a fragment of the Parthenon Sculptures, which has been on loan as part of a cultural exchange.

At a November 30 meeting of the Central Archaeological Council, journalists were informed that the transaction would be initiated at its next meeting, scheduled to take place before the end of 2021.

The resolution of the yearlong discussion represents a breakthrough for the two nations, both aggrieved by the theft of their peerless wealth of antiquities over the centuries, Artnet reported.

The fragment, from stone VI on the eastern frieze of the Parthenon, can currently be seen at the Museo Archeologico Antonio Salinas in Palermo, Sicily.

Under conditions dictated by Italian law, the piece will travel back to Greece on a four-year loan, with the intent to extend for a further four years.

In return for the Parthenon Sculpture, the Acropolis Museum will send the Palermo-based museum a headless statue of the goddess Athena.

The statue will be replaced by a protogeometric vase after a four-year period, matching the amount of time the Parthenon Sculpture remains in Greece.

Greece offered similar deal to the U.K. in November amid the long-running debate over repatriation for pieces of the Parthenon held by the British Museum.

The office of the British Prime Minister announced that the decision will be delegated from the government to the museum’s board of trustees.

But without any legislative update to existing deaccessioning laws, the board is in fact powerless to return anything at all, especially pieces the museum maintains were obtained legally, not looted.

However, documents that emerged last week suggest that the U.K. may have more discretionary power than it publicly admits: they establish that official policy at the time of their writing, in 1991, was to obfuscate, because the government ‘didn’t want to’ return the ancient items to Greece.

READ MORE: Parthenon Sculptures: British document reveals that they can be returned by a law change.

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