“Greece is willing to lend the British Museum cultural treasures that have never left the country in exchange for the return of the Sculptures,” said Ioannis Raptakis, Greek ambassador to London, to the Daily Telegraph. Mr. Raptakis’s statements were made in the context of the public debate that was opened on the return of the Sculptures to Greece following Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ visit to London in November last year and his meeting with his British counterpart, Boris Johnson.
The article refers to the possibilities provided by new technology for the production of exact copies and the presentation of plans for the construction of an exact copy of the sculptures by the Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA). “Greece is willing to consider the idea of allowing the British Museum to make a high-quality marble copy, not only of the Sculptures it now has, but also of the Parthenon Sculptures in the Acropolis Museum Athens,” said Mr Raptakis to the Daily Telegraph.
The Oxford-based institute applies a pioneering technique known as 3D Machining. This technique, with the help of photogrammetry, initially creates a digital image. Then a robotic machine, using chisels in exactly the same way as a sculptor, carves a copy of the original in millimeter detail. The institute could procure marble blocks identical to those used by the sculptor Pheidias and his craftsmen so that the final result would look even more like the original.
According to the publication, the IDA intends to make a copy of the metope depicting the battle of a warrior and a Centaur. Its cost is around 24.000 euros and will take three to six months to complete. Two copies will be made; one with the damages caused by pollution, vandalism etc since it was first crafted, and the other as it was originally.
“The discussion about new technologies to create a high quality copy of the Sculptures is very useful”, Mr. Raptakis pointed out in the Daily Telegraph. He also added that “the British government now has a unique opportunity to end an injustice that weighs on all Greeks and finally return the Parthenon Sculptures.”
As Mr. Raptakis pointed out to the Athens and Macedonia News Agency/AMNA, the meeting with columnist Simon Brussels who wrote this article took place at an event for the 200th anniversary of the death of English lyric poet John Keats, to which the Greek ambassador had been invited to speak. There he seized the opportunity and addressing a special audience, once more repeated the Greek position on the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, saying among other things that “if Keats were alive today, there is no doubt he would passionately support the Greek position.”