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Survey: Only Quarter of Britons Want UK to Keep Parthenon Marbles

A caryatid from the Erechtheion, stands alone, displayed at the British Museum.

A caryatid from the Erechtheion, stands alone, displayed at the British Museum.

Only 26 percent of Britons believe that the sculptures that once adorned the ancient Parthenon in Greece should remain in London’s British Museum, according to a recent opinion poll conducted by international market UK research firm, YouGov, on behalf of The Times newspaper.

The poll was conducted a few days after the British Museum decided to lend a Parthenon sculpture to Russia’s State Hermitage Museum – an action that angered the Greek government.

The poll found that nearly one in two Britons (49 percent) believe that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece, while 24 percent did not express an opinion.

When asked if they agreed with the decision of the British Museum to send the Parthenon sculpture on a loan to Russia, 39 percent of respondents said they agreed with the decision, while 37 percent disagreed.

Generally on the issue of lending exhibits displayed in British museums to other museums around the world, 57 percent of respondents said they were in favor against 25 percent who argued that sculptures could be damaged that way.

The marble statues that once decorated the Acropolis in Athens have been the subject of dispute since they were taken from the Greek capital by the Earl of Elgin in 1803 and later housed in London’s British Museum.

The opinion poll took place between 7 and 8 December and among 1,589 Britons.

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