Australia hands over four historical skulls to Indonesia
REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA — The Australian government handed over four historical skulls to the Indonesian government, represented by Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Kristiarto Soeryo Legowo, in Canberra. Each skull is decorated with traditional ornaments and was given in a single box made by specialists at the Australia National Museum to ensure the safety of the artifacts.
The skull artifacts are from Dayak and Asmat ethnic groups that have a very important cultural value for Indonesia.
“Australia and Indonesia have a deep understanding and respect for the cultural heritage preservation of both countries. We also share a commitment to protect and preserve cultural heritage,” Minister of Arts Senator Mitch Fified said in a statement on Thursday.
Fified said the handover was an important effort to preserve culture. Fified added that the handover of the artifacts was part of the efforts to combat the illegal trade of cultural objects.
Additionally, Ambassador Legowo said the effort was proof of the close relationship between Indonesia and Australia in the sectors of law enforcement and culture.
“The smuggling and illegal trading of cultural objects are growing these days. The returning of such artifacts can strengthen cooperation in safeguarding cultural goods and tackling such illegal activities,” Legowo added.
The cultural artifacts, said Legowo, will be taken back to their original location in Indonesia.
Several ethnic groups in Indonesia preserve skulls in traditional houses or at sacred places. They use them for cultural ceremonies.