Now Welsh nationalists demand return of ancient treasures
Now Welsh nationalists demand return of ancient treasures as they say theft-hit British Museum cannot be trusted to look after them
- Welsh nationalists claim London is ‘no longer the most secure place for treasure’
Welsh nationalists have demanded the British Museum return the nearly 4,000-year-Mold Gold Cape following thefts at the institution – arguing that the idea treasures are ‘more secure in London no longer holds water.’
The demands follow the revelations that thousands of objects may have been stolen from the museum over the years in a scandal that has already seen director Hartwig Fischer resign.
The museum believes ‘around 2,000’ items were stolen including jewellery, gold and semi-precious gems with Fischer conceding that responsibility for failing to act on earlier alerts by whistleblowers rests with him.
The Welsh request comes after Greece also asked for the return of the Elgin Marbles and the Chinese government’s mouthpiece tabloid demanding the ‘immediate return of all Chinese cultural relics.’
Leading the charge for Welsh reclamation of the fabled Mold Gold Cape is Plaid Cymru leader Liz Saville-Roberts who said security is no longer a good enough argument for keeping the treasures in London.
A member of staff observes the Mold Gold Cape dating from 1900-1600 BC which Welsh nationalists want returned
Welsh nationalists have also demanded the return of the Moel Hebog shield which dates back to 1300-1000BC
Plaid Cymru leader Liz Saville-Roberts said security is no longer a good enough argument for keeping the treasures in London
Museum director Hartwig Fischer has resigned conceding that responsibility for failing to act on earlier alerts by whistleblowers rests with him
She said: ‘Close to 2,000 artefacts worth millions have been stolen from the British Museum.
READ MORE: Revealed: How expert turned sleuth to unmask the astonishing extent of British Museum thefts by snapping up the precious items on eBay then presenting bosses with damning dossier of evidence
‘The argument that the Parthenon Marbles, the Mold Gold Cape or the Moel Hebog Shield are more secure in London no longer holds water.
‘The Moel Hebog Shield is not even on display despite the treasure being over 3,000 years old. The argument used by the British Museum is that it is the most secure location for them.
‘For Wales, for Greece and for many countries that were under the control of the British Empire, that argument has been severely undermined by this saga.
‘It is high time we faced that the British Museum does not hold the right to these treasures and a grown-up discussion is required about their repatriation.’
The MP#s calls for repatriation echo the demands from foreign dignitaries like Greece’s culture minister Dr Lina Mendoni who said on record that the scandal engulfing the museum ‘reinforces the permanent and just demand of our country for the definitive return’ of the Elgin Marbles.
Meanwhile Chinese tabloid Global Times, which is a mouthpiece of the communist government of the country, published an editorial blasting the UK’s ‘ugly, shameful colonial history.’
The British Museum has been rocked by scandal in recent weeks following the theft of objects
Grece has demanded the return of the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum
It read: ‘As a Chinese media, we formally request the British Museum to return all Chinese cultural relics acquired through improper channels to China free of charge.
‘The UK, which has a bloody, ugly, and shameful colonial history, has always had a strong sense of moral superiority over others.’
Despite the protestations, the British Museum Act 1936 legally prevents the museum from acquiescing to any request for repatriation of relics.
A British Museum spokesman said: ‘The Mold Gold cape has been on loan to both Wrexham Museum and National Museum Wales in Cardiff in the past ten years, and it has been loaned internationally, as recently as 2021 to Halle in Germany.
‘Six million people visit the museum each year to experience this world-class collection, and the Mold Gold cape is on display to them all, for free, where it is a star piece in our Europe and Middle East Gallery.
‘The collection empowers visitors to navigate and understand the complex relationships between empires, nations and peoples whether through trade, conquest, conflict or peaceful exchange.’
What is the Mold Gold Cape?
The Mold Gold Cape, 1900-1600 BC. Mold, Flintshire, Wales
The Mold Gold Cape is dated 1900-1600 BC and was found in Mold, Flintshire, Wales, in 1833.
The cape was found by a team of workman excavating a quarry and was sold to the British Museum in 1936 by the site’s owner John Langford.
It is a solid sheet-gold object dating from the European Bronze Age.
It is thought to have been buried with a young woman and experts believe it may have formed part of a ceremonial dress, perhaps with religious connections.
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