Over 100,000 Greek artifacts are stored underground in the vaults of the British Museum, the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM) revealed over the weekend.
The BCRPM says that using Freedom of Information provisions, it has been found that the British Museum holds 108,184 Greek artifacts of which only 6,493 are on display.
The discovery of this enormous cache of ancient Greek artifacts has prompted notable supporters to write to British Museum funders and sponsors, raising the repeated failure of the institution to engage in discussion about their reunification, BCRPM says.
“It’s shocking to think that over 100,000 Greek artefacts lie in British Museum vaults not even on display,” Janet Suzman, Chair and Paul Cartledge, Vice-Chair of BCRPM said in a press statement.
Row upon row of ancient Greek artifacts stored in the British Museum
“With row upon row of ancient Greek [artifacts] stored in underground vaults, not even in the public eye, fears that reunifying the greatest work of classic antiquity—the Parthenon Marbles—would somehow ’empty’ the British Museum are absurd,” posited a BCRPM speaker.
The BCRPM leaders added that “It’s time the British Museum wake up to its responsibility to reunify one of the greatest works of classical antiquity and engage in mediation with greater seriousness.”
The BCRPM also blasted the British Museum. Specifically, it was said that the British Museum’s persistent failure to engage in serious discussion about the Parthenon Marbles’ return to Greece or even allow for UNESCO mediation in talks reflects increasingly negatively on the museum as a whole.
Greece intensifies its campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles
Greece has intensified the campaign for the return of the sculptures, which saw a marble fragment of the temple permanently returned to Athens from a museum in Italy on May 20th.
The government announced the “so-called Fagan fragment,” which was included in the collection of the 19th-century British consul general to Sicily, Robert Fagan, could “stay in Greece forever.”
“Sicily paves the way for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece,” the country’s culture ministry said on Friday.
Last week, it emerged that Greece and the UK have agreed to hold talks on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, UNESCO announced.
A report from the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP) says that Mendoni and Lord Parkinson, the minister of the United Kingdom’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have agreed to meet “in due course.”