British damage to Elgin marbles ‘irreparable’

Greek team’s findings show extent of the failure to protect the marble carvings during 1930s restoration attempt 

The Parthenon Marbles

The Parthenon Marbles Greece yesterday disclosed dramatic new evidence of the “irreparable damage” allegedly inflicted on the priceless Elgin marbles during the British Museum’s 183-year stewardship of them.The culture minister, Elisavet Papazoe, said the damage wrought by the museum’s botched attempt to clean the 2,500-year-old treasure earlier this century had been much worse than originally thought.

She said the findings of a Greek group of conservationists, who recently inspected the marbles, demonstrated that the very morphology of the sculptures had suffered as a result of the misguided efforts to make them whiter than white. Original carvers’ toolmarks had been removed and scratch marks had been left by the unskilled labourers who had used copper chisels and wire brushes to clean the marbles in the 1930s.