Berlin museum to return 3 sets of human remains to Australia

BERLIN (AP) — A Berlin museum is set to return to Australia three sets of human remains, including a pair of child mummies, which officials believe were removed from burial sites against the wishes of Indigenous communities.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, an authority that oversees many of Berlin’s museums, said Friday that its trustees agreed to a request made by the Australian government in February to repatriate the remains — a set of human bones in a bark coffin, as well as the two mummified children’s bodies — from the German capital’s Ethnological Museum.

The remains arrived at the German museum in 1880.

“The ancestral remains of all three persons come from burial sites,” heritage foundation president Hermann Parzinger said in a statement. “We presume that they were collected and removed against the wishes of the Indigenous communities affected. Therefore we wish to return them.”

“We are pleased to be able to take this step toward righting the historical injustice that brought them to Berlin,” Ethnological Museum director Lars-Christian Koch said.

The announcement comes a week after the German foundation said it would return two mummified, tattooed Maori heads that were part of the same museum’s collection for more than a century to New Zealand.

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