One of archaeology’s most enduring modern mysteries was firmly put to bed yesterday with the surprise announcement that a cache of finely sculpted marble testicles has been found in Milton Keynes, England.
Museum Curator Bernard Beardsley FRSA, a research associate with the Hellenic Reunification Project, told yesterday how routine archive assessment of a previously unidentified box of rocks actually contains the missing parts chiselled off Greek Statues currently on display in the British Museum.
‘They were removed from the statues in the 19th century’ continued Beardsley, ‘to preserve the modesty of young Victorian ladies visiting the museum galleries.’ The priceless rocks were then hidden away by overzealous museum creators, and were believed to have been lost until this latest discovery.
‘The provenance of these particular specimens was always a bit of a mystery,’ Beardsley said, ‘but scientific testing of the stone, plus some sophisticated refit analysis using 3D models, has proven beyond doubt that these are definitely the missing marbles.’
The collection forms the important bits of the Parthenon sculptures that were contentiously purchased by the Earl of Elgin in the early 1800s. The Parthenon sculptures were purchased by the nation soon after export and placed on permanent display in the British Museum, but Greece has long insisted that the statues should be returned.
The fate of the newly discovered marbles is not yet known, but they are unlikely to stay in Milton Keynes for long. The county council hopes to display the marbles as a tourist draw, Beardsley added, but is likely to come under sustained demands to repatriate the specimens to Greece, where there is even a space waiting for them in a purpose built museum.
This is a condensed version of a report from Reuters. Read the full report here.
Time Team burst onto the scene twenty years ago and immediately caused a stir. A bit scientific, a bit saucy, the show polarized opinions within archaeology and was a surprise hit with the viewing public. For the first time ever, words like ‘geofizz’ and ‘robber trench’ were broadcast into homes around the United Kingdom; the motley crew of lifetime academics, diggers and assorted characters let their freak flag fly for all to see, and we loved them for it. More than just TV personalities, they became our first reality stars, and our good friends.
The Team showed us that the keys to the past were in our own hands; that underneath every ordinary back garden could lay the evidence of something fabulous. No matter who you were or where you came from, the great equalizer of the past belonged to us all.
In recent years, the programme struggled to adapt to a television landscape consumed by shallow celebrity and instant gratification. In a world obsessed with dirty laundry, it seems there is no longer any place for good clean fun.
Time Team is survived by millions of pounds of archaeological research, a generation of archaeologists who owe their first moments of inspiration to the programme, a catalogue of research that would otherwise have never happened, and hundreds of sites that are now better understood and looked after.
Time Lapse footage of Turner prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller’s bouncy castle Stonehenge installation, filmed after a rainy day’s bouncing at Flag Fen, Peterborough.
Background music comes from our favourite Jeremy Deller project – Acid Brass – a musical collaboration with the Williams Fairey Brass Band fusing the music of a traditional brass band with acid house and Detroit techno. Tune!
Touring as part of the Cultural Olympiad and sponsored by the London Mayors Office and the Arts Council, check out the Sacrilege Website to see if they’re landing near you. Bouncing around on this bad boy was twice as much fun as it looks, and it looks like LOADS of fun.