Repatriation of human remains to Australia

News from 09/11/2020

SPK will return human bones in a bark coffin and two mummified children’s bodies currently kept in the Ethnologisches Museum to Australia.

Museen Dahlem
© Foto: David von Becker

Since 2011, Australia has followed a policy that supports Indigenous Australians in recovering and returning their ancestral remains from abroad. In February 2020, the Australian government, which had been in contact with SPK for some time, requested the repatriation of these ancestral remains.

Hermann Parzinger, President of the SPK, explained: “The ancestral remains of all three persons come from burial sites. We presume that they were collected and removed against to the wishes of the Indigenous communities affected. Therefore we wish to return them.”

According to Lars-Christian Koch, Director of the Ethnologisches Museum and Museum für Asiatische Kunst, “The return of these ancestral remains is a solemn obligation.  We are pleased to be able to take this step toward righting the historical injustice that brought them to Berlin.”

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