Greece's Archaeological Museum of Heraklion to send Minoan antiquities to British Museum

The arrangement may be the first step in diffusing the animosity brought about by the Elgin marbles, although a request for their return is expected


Greece has agreed to lend Minoan antiquities for a major exhibition at the British Museum in 2009. Normally, such a loan would not be news, but in the context of the Parthenon Marbles dispute it is highly significant.

The antiquities come from the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, on Crete, which is closing this autumn for a major refurbishment. The expected loans include a fresco of a leaping bull, dating from around the 16th century BC, which was excavated in the palace of Knossos.

The Greek authorities are presumably hoping that a positive response to the British Museum request may create a more favourable environment in which to press for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.

The New Acropolis Museum in Athens, which will house the Parthenon sculptures remaining in Greece, is due to open next spring.

First appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Greece to send Minoan antiquities to British Museum'