Monday, 28 January 2008

Minister rules out 'nonsense' chessmen bid

A SCOTTISH Government campaign to house the historic Lewis chessmen north of the Border has been branded "a lot of nonsense" by UK Culture Minister Margaret Hodge.

Most of the 13th-century figurines are housed at the British Museum in London, but First Minister Alex Salmond recently backed calls for their return to Scotland.

They were found on a beach near Uig on the Isle of Lewis around 1830. But Ms Hodge said the artefacts were made in Norway about 850 years ago and buried on Lewis for safekeeping, a position held by experts.

She also questioned whether the SNP policy would mean the repatriation of valuable artefacts from Scottish museums.

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