Leave the Marbles Where They Are!

The publication of “Thinking About the Elgin Marbles” (Michigan Law Review, vol. 85 [1985]) confirmed John Henry Merryman’s status as a leading authority on cultural property matters. Merryman is Sweitzer Professor of Law at Stanford University and one of the founders of the International Journal of Cultural Property. When not trying to figure out […]

Bring the Marbles Home!

Respect, even reverence, for the past has inspired Graham Binns to take up causes involving cultural history. In the 1950’s, he chaired a committee that oversaw the restoration of a 17th-century theater in Malta. Since the early 1980’s, he has lectured widely on the repatriation of the Greek antiquities, and he is currently chairman […]

Lord Elgin’s Marbles
How sculptures from the Parthenon got to the British Museum By Jacob Rothenberg

When the Elgin Marbles appeared in London between 1802 and 1812, heady talk filled the air. They would create a revolution in the arts. They would change the tastes of the entire nation. New truths would be discovered in these old stones, carved under the direction of the sculptor Phidias in the fifth century […]

In Pharaoh’s Footsteps
History repeats itself in General Allenby’s 1918 march on Megiddo By Eric H. Cline

Horses whinny softly, stamping nervously as their riders mount up in the chilly predawn air. The day’s mission looms ahead: a dangerous trek straight up the Wadi ’Ara and through the narrow Musmus Pass, then a quick dash across the Plain of Esdraelon to engage the enemy controlling ancient Megiddo, a city on […]

The Birth of Adonis?
Cyprus excavation suggests a connection between the Greek god and the Hebrew Adon By Pamela Gaber, William G. Dever

How does a site get lost? It happens. For nearly a decade—from 1867 to 1875—General Luigi Palma de Cesnola, a flamboyant Italian who served as both the American and Russian consul to Cyprus, dug at Idalion (located 12 miles south of Nicosia), where, he claimed, he emptied 15,000 tombs. Cesnola’s exports from Idalion […]

Architecture of the Afterlife
Understanding Egypt’s pyramid tombs By Ann Macy Roth

Nothing brings together the scholar and the crackpot like a pyramid. Built more than 4,000 years ago, Egypt’s pyramids are among archaeology’s perennial fascinations—huge, geometric structures with mummified bodies inside. Books about the pyramids have a long history, too, going back at least as far as the Pyramid Book, written by the medieval Egyptian […]


Editors’ Page: Repatriating Antiquities?
Gnawing on the bone of contention By Hershel Shanks
Origins: Ptolemy Charts the World
So you thought the world was flat By Harold Brodsky
Past Perfect: Excavating Nimrud
Austen Henry Layard describes the journey of two colossal statues from a buried Assyrian palace to the British Museum.
Destinations: Butrint, Albania
So famous was the Greek and Roman city of Butrint that the poet Virgil called it “Troy in miniature.” By Judith Harris
Ancient Life: Thinning Out?
Some remedies from the ancient world.
The Forum
A sprinkling of kudos, some constructive criticism, and concerns over archaeological hygiene.