Archaeologists in Greece have begun one of the world’s most delicate removals jobs. They are transferring nearly 4 500 ancient artefacts from the Acropolis in Athens to a purpose-built museum a short distance away. There are no packing cases, instead, steel containers. No removals van either – rather, three tower-cranes. The length of the job – six weeks to three months, depending on the weather. And the insurance cover? 400-million euros.
The Greek culture minister says it is the first time artefacts have been legally moved from their original position for 2,500 years, a pointed dig at the UK, which removed the so-called Elgin marbles in the 19th century, and put them in London’s British Museum.
But the new Acropolis museum is not without controversy itself. The Greek archaelogical council has approved the bulldozing of two buildings to improve the view of the Parthenon from the museum – one of them a rare example of art-deco – the other, neo-classical.
Many conservationists, are up in arms. Professor of Architecture, Eleni Pordaliou said: “They are part of our history and they help keep a proper scale between the Acropolis and the museum.” The museum is due to open to the public at the end of next year.