Saturday, 26 January 2008

Chessmen claim made by Fabiani

The following article is from The Scotsman
CULTURE minister Linda Fabiani will step up the campaign today to have the historic Lewis chessmen returned to Scotland.
She is visiting the British museum in London, where most of the 13th century figurines are housed, and will ask officials to consider the matter.

They were found on a beach near Uig on the isle of Lewis around 1830 and First Minister Alex Salmond recently backed calls for their return.

Ms Fabiani told Parliament earlier this week it was "unacceptable" that 82 of the 93 chessmen are based in London. Only 11 of the artefacts are housed at the national museum in Edinburgh.

But the Government's position came under fire from Labour this week, when shadow culture minister Malcolm Chisholm asked if Napoleonic artefacts based in Scotland would now be repatriated.

They were discovered by a shepherd in the years before 1831 in a small stone chamber 15ft beneath a sand bank.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil is preparing a bill which would allow the pieces to go north by giving the British museum the freedom to give away or sell parts of its collection.

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