British doctor swims between two Aegean islands for return of Greek marbles

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The Independent Online

A British doctor on Saturday swam between two Aegean Sea islands as part of a campaign for the return of the so-called Elgin marbles from London to Athens.

A British doctor on Saturday swam between two Aegean Sea islands as part of a campaign for the return of the so-called Elgin marbles from London to Athens.

Greece for decades has been seeking the repatriation of 17 marble figures and part of a frieze more than 160-meters (yards) long that once adorned the 2,500-year-old Parthenon, but have been housed in London's British Museum since the early 19th century. Lord Elgin - then Britain's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire - removed them from the Acropolis in Athens.

British pathologist Christopher Stockdale swam 28 kilometers (18 miles) from the uninhabited island of Delos, an archaeological park, to the resort island of Paros.

According to media reports the swim took just over 12 hours to complete.

Delos was one of ancient Greece's holiest sites, and many of its marble statues and temples were made from marble mined on Paros.

Stockdale has swum marathon distances for various causes, including a number of swims across the English Channel and around Manhattan island in New York.

According to the Melina Mercouri Foundation, which organized the event, one of the swim's objectives is to raise money for the construction of a new Acropolis Museum in Athens to house the marbles if they are ever returned.

The foundation is named after the late actress and Culture Minister Melina Mercouri, who campaigned for their return. It is run by her husband, American film director Jules Dassin.

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