The British Museum and the Acropolis Museum are reportedly close to a historic agreement on the gradual return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece, but the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports declined to confirm the information.
According to a “long-term loan” deal, the Parthenon Marbles may soon be returned to Greece, according to reports in the Daily Telegraph and Bloomberg on Tuesday. The Parthenon Marbles will be gradually returned to Greece as part of a cultural exchange, and an agreement between the British Museum and the Acropolis Museum in Athens is close to being finalized.
A arrangement would reportedly see a piece of the marbles transported to Athens on rotation over a number of years, however, Bloomberg emphasized that nothing has been finalized. In return, other items would be lent to the British Museum, and Britain would also receive plaster replicas of the original marbles.
According to Bloomberg, the deal reached between Greece and Britain may be comparable to the one between Greece and the US. A gradual return of 161 antiquities from American privateer Leonard Stern’s private collection.
The priceless sculptures would ultimately remain under the custody of the British museum, according to sources who spoke to the Daily Telegraph, though Greece’s government is likely to fight tooth and nail to prevent this from happening.
Greek daily newspaper Ta Nea reports that in early December, British Museum chairman George Osborne and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met in Knightsbridge, west London, at a five-star hotel, to talk about the marbles. They allegedly had their first “exploratory talks” at the Greek ambassador’s Mayfair apartment in November of last year.