The British Museum's attempt to downgrade
Greek competence in conservation projects.
1. At the end of November 1999, a British
Museum conference was held to consider the damage done to the
Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum during the 1930s.
2. Although this was not relevant to the
main issue, the Deputy Keeper of Greek and Roman antiquities attempted
to divert the concerns of the conference by criticising the conservation
work done in Athens during the 1950s on another monument, the
Temple of Hephaistos. He repeated allegations made in The Times
newspaper of 5 November 1999 that Greek restorers had caused damage
to the frieze of the Hephaisteion "far worse than the damage
caused to the Elgin Marbles by restoration in the 1930s".
3. As is well known to the British Museum,
the methods of conservation used at the Hephaisteion were a consequence
of meetings between experts from the American School of Classical
Studies, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Greek Archaeological
Service, and the British Museum itself. The work was carried out
by the American School of Classical Studies, the cleaning was
limited to the removal of black encrustations formed by rainwater
salts, and the original surfaces of the frieze were left untouched.