Digitally Mapping Colonial Collecting of Indigenous Australian Bodily Remains: the Return, Reconcile Renew Project

Prof. Paul Turnbull1

1University Of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia


In this paper, I discuss the Return, Reconcile Renew Project, a major research initiative funded by the Australian Research Council.  The project has several aims, the most important of which is the application of various e-research techniques to provenance research, primarily to assist the repatriation of the bodily remains of Old People by Indigenous Australian communities.  As I will explain in the paper, digitally investigating the collecting of ancestral bodily remains and important cultural property of Australian and other Indigenous peoples can greatly enhance the kinds of provenance research that western museums now commonly find themselves obliged to undertake.


Paul Turnbull is a Professor of History and Digital Humanities at the University of Tasmania.   He is co-editor with Michael Pickering of  The Long Way Home. The Meaning and Values of Repatriation (2010).  His book, Museums, Science and Collecting the Indigenous Dead will be published by Palgrave late this year. Paul is also known internationally for his creation of research-based digital resources exploring cross-cultural relations in Australia and the Pacific.

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