When my father Professor Martin Robertson passed away in 2004, his will reflected that he wanted some classical Greek pots that had been in his possession for many years returned to Greece. They are from around the 5th century BC and may have come from the Acropolis surrounds. Martin worked at the British Museum at the time of the Elgin Marbles scandal, though he inherited these pieces from an archaeologist friend, and always expressed regret that Greece was taken advantage of by many other countries that at the time were richer and perhaps better informed. Greece is still campaigning for the return of the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum. My brother Matthew has completed the handover. Here’s a news piece about it (they wrongly reported that it was Stephen who attended.)
Martin was very against any looting or illicit trading of ancient artefacts. When he helped catalog the Getty Museum’s collection in LA during the 1980′s, many pieces turned out to be illicit and Martin helped reinstate them to the Greek government. As a young man he was approached on more than one occasion by shady types who needed help excavating sites that were definitely ‘under the radar.’ Often the original pots and fragments dug up were smuggled out of the country, where they were copied by craftsmen and returned to Greece to be sold to unknowing tourists. There was even a story that some of these faked fragments were buried in the ground, and busloads of tourists or collectors taken to the site under cover of darkness, given spades, and invited to excavate their own pots, at a cost of thousands of Drachma! But Martin was no Indiana Jones, and always politely declined these approaches.