[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 22:50 GMT
Swede gives back Acropolis marble
By Malcolm Brabant
BBC News, Athens

Birgit Wiger-Angner stands behind a sculpted marble fragment from the Acropolis that she returned to Greece
The marble was picked up by Wiger-Angner's great-uncle in 1896
A retired Swedish gym teacher is the toast of Greece after returning a piece of sculpted marble taken from the Acropolis more than a century ago.

Birgit Wiger-Angner's family held the marble for 110 years, but she decided to return it to Athens after hearing about Greece's Elgin marbles campaign.

The small fragment comes from the Acropolis's Erechtheion temple.

The move has boosted the international campaign to persuade the British Museum to return the Elgin marbles to Athens.

London's reluctance

It is only a small decorative piece of marble but it is highly symbolic.

The fragment comes from the frieze of the Erechtheion, one of the ancient buildings on top of the rock called the Acropolis.

The gallery containing the British Museum's Parthenon sculptures
The British Museum wants to keep its Parthenon marbles

Surrounded by the original Parthenon marbles in the Acropolis Museum, Mrs Wiger-Angner called on the British Museum in London to restore to Greece the missing sculptures from this priceless collection.

"I think that all people in the British Museum should also bring back all the originals. They can make copies belonging to themselves," she said.

This is the second piece of the Acropolis jigsaw to be returned in the past two months.

In September, Heidelberg University handed back a marble heel from the Acropolis' Parthenon.

Campaigners argue that tourists would much rather see the marbles in the original location than in London.

"I think it is really just a moral obligation to add and share in the reunification of the Parthenon marbles which is a world monument," said Eleni Korka, director of classical antiquities at the Greek ministry of culture.

But the British Museum is resisting growing international pressure to return the sculptures prised from the ancient Greek temple by Lord Elgin.

It insists that the sculptures were legally obtained from the authority governing Greece.

It does not seem troubled by the fact that the nationality of that authority was Turkish, because until the mid-19th Century, Greece was occupied by the Ottoman empire.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Birgit Wiger-Angner on why she returned the marble



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific