Repatriation of the Benin Bronze with Neil Curtis - Ep 119

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This is a special episode of The Archaeology Show hosted by Tristan Boyle.

Recently it was announced that a Benin Bronze, a statue head of an "Oba" or king, would be returned from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland to Nigeria.

Head of Special Collections, Neil Curtis describes the process of repatriating the item as well as what that means for other items in the collection.

Recently a number of books have been published that talk about the punitive expedition of 1897, where the British razed the city of Benin (modern day Nigeria) and looted various items from the people of Benin. Over the years, these cultural items were bought or taken into many museums, including the British Museum, National Museum of Scotland and Berlin Museum. Dan Hicks' recent book The Brutish Museums (Interviewed on Modern Myth) and Barnaby Philip's Loot both describe the violent removal of the Benin Bronzes by the British and where they are held today.

Neil, however, makes the point that repatriating items back to communities is not a reactive process, and that this item in question had been in discussion for a while.

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  • Chris Webster
  • chris@archaeologypodcastnetwork.com

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