The Museum’s governing body, acting on the advice of the Museum’s professional staff, may take a decision to return objects or specimens to a country or people of origin. The University of Cambridge will take such decisions on a case by case basis; within its legal position and taking into account all ethical implications and available guidance.
In the case of proposals or requests for the return of human remains, or artefacts incorporating human remains, the University Council will be guided by the recommendation of the University of Cambridge’s Human Remains Advisory Panel. Proposals or requests for the return of human remains, or artefacts incorporating human remains should be directed to the University of Cambridge Registrary’s Office. Full details of the procedure entailed are available at: http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/secretariat/remains/
Proposals or requests for the return of artefacts, not incorporating human remains, will be considered by the Museum Committee, according to guidelines formally approved by the Committee on 5 February 2014. Requests should be directed, in the first instance, to the Director of the Museum:
Professor Nicholas Thomas
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ
The Gweagal Spears
The University has recently considered a repatriation claim relating to the spears from Botany Bay, which form part of the collection made during Captain Cook’s first voyage. The full report can be read here.
The University’s press release on the same topic is available here.