At a time when the head of the British Museum rules out, through his statements, the definitive repatriation of the Parthenon Sculptures to Athens, Greece is the recipient of yet another generous move, this time from Sweden.
Sweden has returned the fragment of the unique clay seal cylinder of Asini, from the Bronze Age, which was handed over to be reunited with the second fragment of the same object housed in the Archaeological Museum of Nafplion.
The returned fragment had been found during excavations initiated by the then Crown Prince of Sweden, Gustaf Adolf, and later King Gustaf VI Adolf. For a whole century it was in the Swedish Museum of the University of Uppsala.
Although the possession of the seal was considered legal, Stockholm took the decision to deliver it to its birthplace in Argolis. During a special ceremony, the Ambassador of Sweden to Greece, Johan Borgstam, handed over the precious fragment to the Culture and Sports Minister, Lina Mendoni.
"I confess that for me personally, this is a very happy moment, because we are facing not a formal and ordinary ceremony, but a ceremony that, first of all, confirms, in the best possible way, the close relations that bind the Greece and Sweden in culture," said Lina Mendoni.
"Starting with the excavations of Asini, where Gustaf Adolf, the heir to the Swedish throne, participated in 1922, the Greek Archaeological Service cooperates extremely and very efficiently with the Swedish Archaeological Institute.
"Asini is a special place. It's a bit hidden, but at the same time rather obvious. It reveals a very old phase of Greek civilization, 4,000 BC, at the same time, however, it is a link in the long chain of the historical duration of this civilization.
"This particular seal stone allowed us to see and face together, the common principles and common values of the protection and management of cultural heritage. Two parts of a small monument, which, however, is very large in its meaning, are united in its origin, in the land that created them, in Greece.
"They will remain united where the one, perfect reflection of the real was found.
"The visitor to Uppsala and the scholar will see essentially the same thing, what the visitor and the scholar see in the Nafplion Museum. The difference is very small.
"The difference is in essence, and it concerns the generosity of Uppsala University, the Swedish Archaeological Institute and the generosity of the Swedish people."
The Minister of Culture even connected Sweden's specific move with the issue of the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, wanting to send a resounding message to the British.
"For us Greeks, for me personally, this specific gesture is the visualisation of a national goal, of the definitive return and unification and reunification at the Acropolis Museum of the Parthenon Sculptures," she underlined.
For his part, the ambassador of Sweden in Greece, Johan Borgstam, noted that the Swedish government's decision to facilitate the reunification of the Asini clay seal cylinder is an excellent symbol of the long-term cooperation between the two countries.
He said it is proof of our commitment to preserve and share Europe's cultural heritage for future generations.
4,000 years ago a beautiful seal was manufactured in Argolid (Peloponnese). In 1922 half of the seal ended up in #UppsalaUniversity 🇸🇪, half stayed in Greece. Amb @JBorgstam hosted Minister of Culture Dr. Lina Mendoni as 🇸🇪 Institute in Athens returned the part from Sweden to 🇬🇷 pic.twitter.com/2efrG3wSy7
— Embassy of Sweden Greece (@SwedeninGR) February 15, 2023
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