Greek authorities have begun a transfer of ancient sculptures from the Acropolis to a new museum located below the Athens landmark.

The first artifact removed from the Acropolis Sunday was a section of the Parthenon frieze - a (160-meter long) strip of sculptures on the temple depicting an ancient religious procession.

Three cranes lifted the more than two ton fragment and carried it slowly to the new Acropolis Museum.

Hundreds of sculptures will be moved from the Acropolis to the museum over the next six weeks.

Greek authorities hope the opening of the Acropolis Museum next year will boost their campaign to reclaim Parthenon sculptures currently held by the British Museum in London.

British diplomats removed those sculptures, known as the Elgin Marbles, from the Acropolis in the early 19th century when Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire.

The British Museum bought the artifacts and has long argued that they should remain in London.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.