The ownership of the Taung skull and of other fossil hominids and the question of repatriation

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dc.contributor.author Tobias, Phillip V.
dc.date.accessioned 2013-11-01T10:49:50Z
dc.date.available 2013-11-01T10:49:50Z
dc.date.issued 2005-12
dc.identifier.issn 0078-8554
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/13296
dc.description Historical Review en_ZA
dc.description.abstract The ownership of fossils, and for purposes of this paper I refer to that of hominid fossils, was long assumed to be vested in the individuals who made the discoveries. The author reviews here a series of case histories with which he has had direct or indirect personal contact, that illustrate claims for ownership. Some have been explicit, some implicit. They are drawn from South Africa, East Africa, North Africa, England, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands, Indonesia and China. This historical essay reviews the replacement of this practice by a policy that fossils are not seen as personal property, ut as part of the heritage of the country of origin. During the colonial era, many specimens were removed from former colonies to the ‘home countries’, where they remained for decades, at least until the subject territories attained their independence from the former imperial powers. The new policy about ownership, in such cases, entails the return (repatriation) of the expatriate fossils to the source country. Examples of success stories and of tardy responses are given. A policy for the future is set forth. en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship Palaeontological Scientific Trust en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research en_ZA
dc.subject national heritage, fossil hominids, repatriation en_ZA
dc.title The ownership of the Taung skull and of other fossil hominids and the question of repatriation en_ZA
dc.type Other en_ZA


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