Repatriation

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

The William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson, Mississippi

Mississippi Returns Hundreds of Native Americans' Remains to Chickasaw Nation

Decades after their bones were placed in storage, the state has repatriated the remains of 403 Indigenous ancestors

These Cambodian cultural heritage artifacts, once held in the collection of controversial collector Douglas Latchford, will soon be returned to their home country. From left to right: Ardhanarishvara, a half-male, half-female deity from the Angkor period, 10th century; a bronze boat prow from the late 12th century; and a bronze male deity from the 11th-century Angkor period

Collection of Antiquities Dealer Accused of Looting Will Return to Cambodia

The $50 million trove represents one of the most significant repositories of Cambodian cultural heritage outside of the country

Ranavalona III succeeded her great-aunt, Ranavalona II, in 1883.

The Little-Known Story of Madagascar's Last Queen, Ranavalona III

Artifacts linked to the royal are headed home following their purchase at auction by the African island's government

Artist's rendering of the Edo Museum of West African Art's exterior

A New Museum of West African Art Will Incorporate the Ruins of Benin City

Designed by architect David Adjaye, the museum will reunite looted artifacts currently housed in Western institutions

Curators removed the tsantsa, or shrunken heads, from display in July.

Oxford Museum Permanently Removes Controversial Display of Shrunken Heads

Citing the exhibit's reinforcement of "racist and stereotypical thinking," the Pitt Rivers Museum moved a total of 120 human remains into storage

The ʻahu ʻula and mahiole of Kalaniʻōpuʻu on display in the Bishop Museum

Hawaiian Chief's Cloak and Helmet Repatriated After 241 Years

A New Zealand museum initially returned the artifacts, given to Captain James Cook in 1779, on a long-term loan in 2016

A display in Paris' Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, which houses hundreds of thousands of artifacts from non-European cultures

Activists Try to Remove African Artifact From Paris Museum

Protesters demanding the repatriation of looted objects seized a funeral pole on view at the Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac

The Elgin cast, seen on right, reveals sculptural details lost today.

New Research

3-D Imaging Reveals Toll of Parthenon Marbles' Deterioration

A new study of 19th-century plaster casts of the controversial sculptures highlight details lost over the past 200 years

In 1897, British troops looted thousands of pieces of culturally significant art, which came to reside in private and public collections, including this cooper plaque (detail) now held at the Smithsonian Institution.

As African Art Thrives, Museums Grapple With Legacy of Colonialism

Museum leaders met in Washington D.C. to talk about what's next for the continent's cultural sector

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