Byline: DARREN DEVINE
A DISPUTE similar to the one that surrounds the Elgin Marbles has begun over the return of a 4,000-yearold bronze-age artefact to its original home.
North Wales AM Alison Halford said yesterday that the Gold Cape of Mold should be returned to its home in the Flintshire town.
In a demand reminiscent of the campaign over the Elgin Marbles, she pressed for moves to enable the bronze-age artefact to be handed back by the British Museum.
The corselet is held at the British Museum because it is claimed no North Wales museum has adequate security to safely display it.
Andrew Hamilton, spokesman for the British Museum, said new legislation would be needed for the Cape to be returned to North Wales.
There are no provisions in the British Museums Act of 1963 that allow artefacts to be repatriated to other countries or parts of the UK claiming to be their rightful owner.
Mr Hamilton said if a Welsh museum made a request to loan the cape it would be considered, but the venue would have to meet the British Museum's high security and conservation standards.
He said, "The British Museum's trustees are not empowered to deaccess any part of the collection. But if someone is suggesting a Welsh museum wants to loan the cape we would consider that request very carefully."
However, Delyn Labour AM Ms Halford insisted that if North Wales had a sufficiently high-profile museum it could make a legitimate claim for the return of the Gold Cape of Mold.
"This is a bronze-age artefact which rests in the British Museum and would not be allowed to return back to its rightful place because of a security problem, " he said.
"Had we a proper museum then the British Museum would be able to allow us it back, which would be useful for tourism and …