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Getty Museum Returns Two Ancient Artifacts to Greece

Two ancient Greek artifacts were returned to Greece on Friday by the Getty Museum in California. One item was a carved relief depicting the female form: the other a tablet recording a religious calendar. The pieces are dated from the 5th-century-B.C.

Both antiquities will briefly remain at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The carved relief will then be transferred to the Pavlos and Alexandra Kanellopoulos Museum in Athens where it will be displayed, while the tablet will be transferred to the Epigraphic Museum.

The return of the antiquities was brought about through the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Hellenic Republic and the Getty Trust, in September 2011. The J. Paul Getty Museum issued a press release on the occasion of the signing of the memorandum, stating “The Hellenic Republic and the Getty share a mutual interest in and concern about issues of cultural heritage. The framework we signed today benefits both parties and sets the foundation for a long-term partnership.”

According to Bloomberg the decision to return the two antiquities “came after an internal review that concluded it was appropriate that the objects be returned.” The pieces had been with the Getty since the 1970’s. Several countries including Greece, Italy and Egypt have called for the return of national antiquities that were acquired through what they deem illegal excavations. The L.A. Times reported they were then allegedly purchased by former Getty curator Marion True.

When the agreement was reached between Greece and the Getty Museum in September, Greek Culture Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos said “The Getty’s decision to transfer two objects is particularly welcome and is an example of the Ministry’s efforts to reunify, repatriate, and exhibit Greek antiquities in their country of origin.”
(source: Bloomberg, L.A. Times, digitaljournal)

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