Kennewick Man Meets Lady Mungo: An International Look at Repatriation

01st June 2006

Tim Ormsby

BArch(Hons), Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, October 2004

This thesis examines what factors impact on the outcomes of cases of the repatriation of Indigenous human remains. To do so, it compares and contrasts how repatriation issues are handled in Australia and the United States, an area about which very little has previously been written.

The focus of this study is two case studies: the repatriation of Mungo Lady in Australia, and the battle over the remains of Kennewick Man in the United States. These two cases, while of a similar nature, resulted in vastly differing outcomes. The issues surrounding each case were numerous and complex in nature, as were the factors that influenced the outcome of each case. Analysis of the case studies concentrates on relevant legislation and archaeological codes of ethics as reflections of the respective political and social climates in each country.

The results of this study have shown that acceptance by archaeologists of Indigenous ownership and control of Indigenous cultural heritage is more likely to produce an outcome that both Indigenous people and archaeologists can benefit from when it comes to repatriation. While repatriation legislation does bring with it numerous benefits for both Indigenous people and archaeologists, having such legislation in place is not necessary for amicable repatriation to occur and can, in some instances, be the source of conflict itself.

Tim Ormsby
Kennewick Man Meets Lady Mungo: An Interantional Look at Repatriation
June 2006
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Thesis Abstracts
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