Who Owns History?

Nations want their looted art returned. Great museums want to keep the treasures. Is there a right way to divide the past?

Kevin Scanlon for TIME

This rare life-size Greek bronze was fished out of the Adriatic. A key question: Was it in international waters?

Update Appended: February 21, 2008

Over the past few months, I made what you could call a farewell tour, except I wasn't the one going away. What I did was set out to bid goodbye to a few favorite works of art that would soon be departing the U.S. for good. First I headed to California and the Getty Villa in Malibu, a museum devoted to the ancient Greeks, Etruscans and Romans. I wanted a long last look at its statue of a goddess from the 5th century B.C. Scholars are divided over just which goddess she represents, but whoever...