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Last Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Aboriginal remains could go home
Cohuna skull
A moratorium on intrusive research on the remains will be imposed
University museum bosses have met with Australian government representatives for talks on the possible return of aboriginal remains to Tasmania.

Although a formal request has not yet been made to Oxford University, a spokesman said it was expected soon.

The university's Museum of Natural History could be asked to hand over the skulls of indigenous Tasmanians.

London's Natural History Museum has already agreed to hand over the remains it holds.

Cultural heritage

Oxford University is currently waiting for confirmation the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre is the right body to negotiate with over such requests.

A university spokesman said: "Once formal confirmation is received, the university will be able to consider a repatriation claim from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre as laid out in its policy on human remains.

"The University of Oxford considers extremely seriously any request it receives for the repatriation of items that are under its care as part of its collections.

"The university recognizes both the sensitive nature of some of the items and the concerns over cultural heritage which often lie behind requests for repatriation."

The university has said it will impose a moratorium on intrusive research on any remains kept by its Museum of Natural History once a request has been made.

In London, the Natural History Museum has struck a deal with Australian aboriginal leaders over the remains of 17 indigenous Tasmanians it holds.

The remains - including teeth, skulls and other bones removed from the island - were being turned over to a delegation from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in a private ceremony at the museum on Friday.


SEE ALSO
Aboriginal remains fight resolved
10 May 07 |  Science/Nature
Aborigines' court fight delayed
22 Feb 07 |  Science/Nature
Aboriginal remains tests halted
12 Feb 07 |  London

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