24 Dec 2012

Swedish university keen to return Tahitian skulls

12:22 pm on 24 December 2012

A Swedish university says it wants to return three human skulls that researchers collected in French Polynesia in the 19th century.

The skulls arrived in Sweden in 1884 aboard the royal frigate Vanadis, which had stopped in Tahiti and in the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The heads were brought to Sweden by an ethnographist and archaeologist Hjalmar Stolpe and they have been with the University of Uppsala's Gustavianum Museum. The curator Anne Ingvarsson Sundstrom has told the Upsala Nya Tidning newspaper that the institution wants to make things right. She says the university has been approached by a Polynesian association and it has recommended to the Swedish government that the skulls be returned. In recent years, several Western institutions have returned artefacts to the countries from which they were collected."