The British Museum is facing legal action after refusing to allow the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) to take 3D scans of the Parthenon Marbles.
The IDA, one of the UK’s top organizations for heritage preservation, announced on Wednesday that it would serve the museum an injunction to order the museum to allow for the 3D scans.
The scans could be used to program a “robot sculptor” to carve replicas of the precious sculptures, potentially providing a solution to the dispute between Greece and the British Museum over the ownership of the marbles. The replicas could remain in the UK, and the original Parthenon Marbles could return to Greece.
“We will be filing a complaint by the end of the week requesting the court to order the British Museum to grant our request…We want them to treat our application in exactly the same fashion that they would treat similar requests. Their refusal has been capricious and arbitrary,” Roger Michel, Executive Director of IDA, stated to The Guardian.
Experts from the Oxford-based IDA hope that replica Pentelic marble sculptures can be created with metal chisels, in much the same way the sculptures were created by the ancient Greek architect Phidias around 447–438 BC.