With Reference to the Debate on Ethics Concerning Antiquities, Should Museums Be Forced to Return Antiquities to Their Countries of Origin? Essay

657 WordsJun 22, 20143 Pages
Across the world ancient artefacts are displayed in the museums of countries other than those in which they were originally discovered. The objects were previously taken from their countries of origin by means of looting and buying, and were then exported to other countries where many of them remain today. Now many of these antiquities have ended up in the hands of private collectors and wealthy museums. Recently many of the countries of origin have demanded the return of these historical objects. This has caused a world-wide debate over the ethics of these antiquities, creating dispute over who should have the rightful ownership of them. As a result of this ethical conflict some museums are returning their ancient artefacts to the countries of origin as a gesture of friendship, imposing the question as to why many other countries aren’t doing the same. The British museum is constantly under the spotlight of the debate as it holds both, part of the Parthenon marbles and the Rosetta stone. They are refusing to return the artefacts to Egypt and Greece on the grounds that the countries of origin lack the necessary means or facilities to look after the ancient objects to the standard that is required. Egypt and Greece are both going through financial crisis and civil uproar. However, in recent times they have also created the proper facilities to cater for the artefacts. They are educating students in archaeology as well as creating learning establishments to train the “new generation” and educate them so that they can conserve their own past. Both countries of origin argue that the artefacts are part of their cultural and national heritage and as a result have the right to claim the artefacts as their own. Museums have returned this argument by stating that these artefacts not only have a cultural heritage to the country of origin but an international heritage and

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