JANUARY 21, 2015
When Should Antiquities Be Repatriated to Their Country of Origin?
After the discovery of more than 5,000 looted Italian antiquities in a warehouse in Switzerland, Italy’s culture minister announced the ancient vases, frescoes and bronzes would be “returned to where they were found”— presumably in southern Italy.
But while this case seems clear-cut, the British Museum defense of its ownership of the Elgin marbles — ancient sculptures that once adorned the Parthenon — seems less so.
When should antiquities be repatriated to their countries of origin?