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The Parthenon Sculptures

What are the Parthenon Sculptures?

Metope panel from the Parthenon, copyright Maria Koutsikou

The Parthenon Sculptures are sometimes called the Elgin Marbles because they were brought to Britain by Lord Elgin. The sculptures come from the famous Parthenon temple, which is part of the Acropolis in Athens. The Ancient Greeks began building the temple in 447BC.

Around half of the sculptures were destroyed in ancient times, before Lord Elgin arrived at the Parthenon. Of the remaining sculptures, about 50% are now in the British Museum, where they have been on display since 1817. Most of the rest are in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Some people want all of the remaining sculptures to be together in Athens - others believe that the British Museum collection should stay in London.

We’d love to know why you think what you think! Email us your comments about the Parthenon Sculptures

To find out more about the Parthenon Sculptures and the arguments for and against returning the British Museum collection to Greece, check out pages 4 and 5 in Issue 153 of Young Archaeologist magazine.

You can also see a debate about the sculptures, and read more about them by clicking here

Young Archaeologist magazine is the exclusive magazine for YAC members. Find out how to join YAC UK by clicking here!