Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Public Policy & Law

First Advisor

Professor Adrienne Fulco

Second Advisor

Professor Martha Risser


This thesis will explore the scope of the restitution debate for Greek and Italian classical antiquities and how it has evolved over the past 70 years. Chapter 1 will focus on the scholarly works of well-known figures within the restitution debate, including John Henry Merryman, James (Jim) Cuno, and Patty Gerstenblith. Their work is crucial in developing the terminology that defines the debate and also for understanding their opinions on both sides of the debate. Chapter 2 will center on claims to cultural property and restitution efforts that have been made at both the international and national level. The three major international conventions, Hague 1954, UNESCO 1970, and UNIDROIT 1995 will be examined. The United States’ 1983 Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CCPIA) that applies to American museums specifically will be explored. Museum associations such as the Alliance of American Museums (AAM), the Museums Association (U.K. only), and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) will all be examined as well. Finally, the individual policies of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) and the British Museum will also be discussed.

Chapter 3 will focus on two major restitution case studies, the Euphronios Krater and the Elgin Marbles. The Euphronios Krater, once owned by the MET, and the Elgin Marbles, still in the possession of the British Museum, are two entirely different antiquities with deep histories of illegal ownership history. Lastly, Chapter 4 will provide a policy proposal for the future of restitution policy. By giving more authority to ICOM, binding, international policies for restitution can be imposed through a new membership agreement. All of these chapters help explain the restitution debate throughout recent history with the goal to find a possible solution to the long debate of who “protects” cultural property the most effectively.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Law.