Returning the Elgin Marbles


Sir, – As a former archaeologist and archaeological conservator, I take great issue with Evan Byrne (Letters, November 27th) on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece where he states that many archaeological objects would never have been found in the first place without foreign-led excavation teams.

It gives the lie to his entire argument and signposts an underlying attitude which tallies with that other canard that usually pops its ugly head up when this perennially shameful issue is raised. It usually runs along the lines of, “They wouldn’t look after them properly either!”.

It is a well-documented fact that the British Museum was responsible for damaging the surface of the marbles by over- cleaning them. Retaining the Parthenon Marbles is a cultural crime that no amount of odious excuses can cover up. Give them back. – Yours, etc,


Bray, Co Wicklow.