While Elgin Marbles debate rages, there is still a market for looted antiquities
Mackenzie, S. (2014) ‘While Elgin Marbles debate rages, there is still a market for looted antiquities’, The Conversation, 14 February.
Several members of the cast of the film The Monuments Men made headlines for expressing the view that the British Museum should return the Elgin Marbles to Athens after their “very nice stay” of 200 years in London.
That reignited the debate around the ethics and intentions of their removal from the Parthenon in the early 19th century, as well as the controversy around what to do with them now. But whether or not the removal of the sculptures should be considered “pillage or protection”, as the Guardian put it, we might take the opportunity to reflect on other more contemporary and unambiguous examples of international cultural heritage plunder.