Art & Design

Turkish Museum Puts Hercules Back Together Again

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Two halves of an ancient Greek statue have been reunited and are on display in a Turkish museum. The top half spent the last two decades in the Boston Fine Arts Museum. Turkish officials said it was illegally removed from an archaeological site in southwestern Turkey and they spent years trying to get it back.


Now a story of a piece of art made whole again. The marble head and upper torso of a Roman sculpture was rejoined with its lower half at a ceremony in a Turkish museum this weekend.


The reunion took almost 20 years of negotiating. The upper part of the 1,800-year-old mythological figure Hercules had been on display in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Turkish art historians claimed it was taken illegally from an archaeological site in Turkey in 1980, and scientific testing confirmed the two pieces were part of the same sculpture.

MONTAGNE: Last month, the Boston museum signed an agreement transferring ownership of the bust. And Turkey's prime minister took the ancient treasure with him on a flight home after a visit to the U.S. The marble masterpiece is known in English as the weary Hercules. Now that he's been patched up, perhaps he'll regain some of his fabled strength.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from