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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 15:35 GMT
Museum pledges to return remains
Aboriginal children in Australia (file photo)
Aborigine communities want their artefacts returned
A skull and other human remains in Edinburgh are to be returned to Australia and New Zealand.

National Museums of Scotland will give back the Tasmanian skull following an Australian Government request on behalf of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

It also agreed to return four tattooed Maori heads, currently on long-term loan to Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand.

It is part of an ongoing campaign by Australian and New Zealand governments.

We considered these individual cases very carefully, looking at the moral, cultural and scientific arguments as well as recent practice in this sensitive area of human remains
Dr Gordon Rintoul
National Museums of Scotland

They want to repatriate items to Aboriginal and Maori communities.

Another request for six aboriginal skulls in the National Museums of Scotland is still being considered.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of National Museums Scotland, said: "We considered these individual cases very carefully, looking at the moral, cultural and scientific arguments as well as recent practice in this sensitive area of human remains.

"This has resulted in our agreement to return these items to their native cultures.

"We have maintained positive dialogue with the institutions involved over a period of time and are appreciative of their co-operation in resolving these complex issues."

The approval of Culture Minister Linda Fabiani was required to designate the Australian Government and Te Papa Tongarewa as bodies to whom material from the collections could be transferred.

A spokesman for Te Papa Tongarewa said they were "extremely pleased" with the decision.

The items, which are still in Scotland, will be returned over the next few months.

SEE ALSO
Plea to return Aborigine remains
30 May 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Bone return consultation launched
28 Jul 04 |  Science/Nature

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