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Provenance research and historical sources for understanding Nineteenth-century scientific interest in Indigenous human remains: the scholarly journals and popular science media

Knapman, G, Turnbull, P ORCID: 0000-0002-7101-1538 and Fforde, C 2020 , 'Provenance research and historical sources for understanding Nineteenth-century scientific interest in Indigenous human remains: the scholarly journals and popular science media', in Fforde Cressida and McKeown C. Timothy and Keeler Honor (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Indigenous Repatriation: return, reconcile, renew , Routledge, United Kingdom, p. 1018.

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Abstract

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been studied by Western science since the lateeighteenth century. Up until the early 1930s, European and Australian-based scientists who wereinterested in human origins and variation sought to acquire skulls and other bodily remains ofthe continent’s first peoples as systematically as circumstances allowed. Reportage of the acquisition of remains and the findings of the scientists who examined them (anatomists and anthropologists) are found in a range of scientific publications, especially those founded from the 1850sonwards by anthropological societies in metropolitan European capital cities.Research into this scientific literature assists repatriation researchers by enabling them totrace information about the location and provenance of Ancestral Remains held in museumsand other collecting institutions, as well as in private hands. To assist in such research, this chapter provides an overview of key scientific and popular literature relating to the procurementand use of Indigenous Ancestral Remains. Even if detailed information on provenance is notforthcoming within the literature, gaining background knowledge about a collector and his orher movements can often contribute to a suite of evidence to help understand where, when,how and why Ancestral Remains were removed and to trace in what institution they may nowbe located. The chapter reviews the Australian and European literature, information that can beused as a ‘scaffold’ to trace similar literature in other jurisdictions.The publishing sources are diverse and include daily newspapers, scientific journals, naturalistsocieties’ transactions, medical journals, and also the first anthropological magazine. The chapteracts as a guide to the literature, outlines the extent of the source material, and provides ideas onhow the sources can be used. It begins with an overview of relevant online publication metadatabases followed by a section on Australian resources in the form of newspapers and societyjournals. It ends with a brief overview of major scientific publications in various countries innineteenth-century Europe.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Knapman, G and Turnbull, P and Fforde, C
Keywords: Indigenous history, history of science, human remains, repatriation
Publisher: Routledge
DOI / ID Number: 10.4324/9780203730966-34
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 The Authors

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