Repatriation

This painting by Richard Caton Woodville Jr. depicts the Battle of Omdurman.

Sudanese Museums Call for Return of Stolen Artifacts

Colonizers took the items after a deadly battle in the late 19th century

This commemorative sculpture by an Edo artist is one of 29 objects the Smithsonian is proposing to repatriate to Nigeria. 

Why the Smithsonian Adopted a New Policy on Ethical Collecting

For more than a century, museum artifacts were acquired in ways we no longer find acceptable. How can we repair the damage?

The Parthenon sculptures are also known as the Elgin Marbles. 

Past Imperfect

Can Greece and the U.K. Finally Broker a Deal to Return the Elgin Marbles to Athens?

New talks raise old questions about the ancient Parthenon sculptures

This statue was looted from the Koh Ker temple complex in Cambodia in the 1970s.

Cambodia Asks U.K. Cultural Institutions to Return Looted Statues

British museums contain hundreds of allegedly stolen temple treasures

The Museum of Prehistory and Early History in Berlin houses some 5,500 skulls collected by Austrian anthropologist Felix von Luschan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. On Friday, February 11, the German museum returned 32 skulls from the collection to a Hawaiian delegation.

Germany, Austria Repatriate Dozens of Human Skulls to Hawaii

Earlier this month, a Hawaiian delegation retrieved 58 sets of ancestral remains from five European museums

Earlier this month, U.S. officials agreed to return two seized cuneiform artifacts to the Iraqi consulate in Los Angeles.

U.S. Returns 4,000-Year-Old Cuneiform Tablet and Prism to Iraq

An investigator says the artifacts were "almost certainly" looted from the Middle Eastern country

French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot stands next to Gustav Klimt's oil painting Rosebushes under the Trees (1905), as she announces the return of 15 Nazi-looted artworks to Jewish families at an event at Musee d'Orsa in Paris.

France to Return 15 Works of Nazi-Looted Art to Jewish Families

The works include pieces held in the collections of the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay in Paris

This 14th-century religious carving of a water spirit was part of a window decoration in a Kathmandu monastery.

Rubin Museum Agrees to Return Stolen Religious Artifacts to Nepal

An investigation launched by the New York cultural institution concluded that the 14th- and 17th-century carvings were "unlawfully obtained"

Bruce Clark, author of the new book Athens: City of Wisdom, outlines the events that culminated in the Elgin Marbles’ extraction from Greece.

How the Much-Debated Elgin Marbles Ended Up in England

For two centuries, diplomat Thomas Bruce has been held up as a shameless plunderer. The real history is more complicated, argues the author of a new book

A high-necked polychrome pot, created sometime between 1100 and 1400 B.C.E., was among the more than 900 items returned to Mali.

The U.S. Returns More Than 900 Stolen Artifacts to Mali

American authorities seized the presumably looted objects, which were listed as replicas, in 2009

Virtual reconstruction of Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhan as it may have looked around 600 C.E., when it decorated a manmade cave temple in southern Cambodia

A Botched Restoration Left These Ancient Cambodian Statues With Swapped Limbs

Now properly pieced together, the sculptures of Hindu deity Krishna are on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art

This 16th- or 17th-century copper alloy plaque—one of the ten Benin Bronzes removed from view—depicts a high-ranking warrior flanked by musicians and a page holding a ceremonial sword.

History of Now

Why the Smithsonian's Museum of African Art Removed Its Benin Bronzes From View

Displaying the looted artworks does "a huge amount of harm,” says director Ngaire Blankenberg, who has affirmed her commitment to repatriating the objects

Alula Pankhurst, a member of Ethiopia’s National Heritage Restitution Committee, calls the objects' return the “single most significant heritage restitution in Ethiopia’s history.”

Looted Maqdala Treasures Returned to Ethiopia After 150 Years

A nonprofit foundation purchased the objects, which were seized by British troops in 1868, with the aim of restituting them

Workers outside the village of Geldibuldu in southeastern Turkey in 1981, when researchers were collecting botanical remains at an archaeological site nearby.

Why British Archaeologists Are Battling With the Turkish Government Over Seeds

The ancient plants at the heart of the conflict are essential to science—and might hold clues to new superfoods

Costa Rican Minister of Culture and Youth Sylvie Durán (right) examines some of the newly returned artifacts.

Brooklyn Museum Returns 1,305 Pre-Hispanic Artifacts to Costa Rica

The NYC cultural institution sent the objects to the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica as an "as an unrestricted gift"

This pre-Inca chest ornament dates to between roughly 800 B.C. and 1 A.D. In 1986, the City of Cusco selected the disc's design as its official symbol and coat of arms.

A Golden Symbol of National Identity Returns to Peru

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian has sent an ancient, pre-Inca breastplate back home

Two protesters hold a sign reading "Reparations to descendants instead of 'development aid' to Namibia" at a demonstration in Berlin on May 28. That day, the German foreign minister formally acknowledged the Herero and  Nama genocide and promised €1.1 billion in infrastructure aid—but stopped short of labeling the effort "reparations."

History of Now

Germany Acknowledges Genocide in Namibia but Stops Short of Reparations

Between 1904 and 1908, colonial forces murdered tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people

This plaque depicts musicians, a page holding a ceremonial sword and a high-ranking warrior. It numbers among the thousands of works looted by British forces during an 1897 raid of Benin City.

Germany Will Return Benin Bronzes to Nigeria in 2022

Culture Minister Monika Grütters describes the move as a "historic milestone"

Following a 1985 police bombing that left 11 dead, mourners stand in front of MOVE's former headquarters, raising their arms in the Black Power salute as the funeral procession for leader John Africa passes.

Museum Kept Bones of Black Children Killed in 1985 Police Bombing in Storage for Decades

Outrage erupted over the revelation that the likely remains of two young victims were held in and studied at Ivy League institutions

The trove of smuggled artifacts included stone arrowheads, knives and other tools.

U.S. Authorities Return 523 Smuggled Pre-Hispanic Artifacts to Mexico

Investigators seized the cache of illegally imported objects in 2016

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