Collecting bones of indigenous people in Africa and Australia was big business in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Scientists in Europe and North America believed that skeletons of native people could prove Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. For decades, body-snatchers scoured the colonies for human remains, buying, plundering and confiscating bones. Living “specimens” were poisoned or shot by order –as brand-new research reveals.
Today skulls, limbs and preserved heads are locked away in storerooms. Souls, their descendants say, that can never rest.
For decades the link with the past was broken. But the pressure on museums and care-takers of these human remains is rising. The Aborigines of Australia as well as different tribes from Africa have announced to increase the pressure in order to obtain their ancestors remains.
And they have found some allies in scientists, historians and even museum officials who feel that after roughly 100-150 years it is high time to face the truth about how these collections were built up and to come to terms with the misbehaviour of European collectors not so long ago.
So far, only bits and pieces of this story are known. We set out, for the first time, to tell it all and, perhaps, give back the peace to the souls that our ancestors took away a long time ago. We will reveal the identity of these –so called– specimens and we will try to give them back the dignity that they deserve.