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Ancestors, artefacts, empire: Indigenous Australia in British and Irish museums

Museums across Great Britain and Ireland hold Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (collectively referred to as ‘Indigenous’) cultural heritage of exceptional value, but which is largely unknown, rarely seen and poorly understood.  A major new book published by the British Museum launching on 2 September 2021, Ancestors, artefacts, empire : Indigenous Australia in British and Irish museums explores nearly 160 artefacts selected from over 30 public museums, paired alongside text by twenty-two Indigenous, Australian and international experts.

This landmark publication, the product of ten years of research, presents a multi-stranded narrative and interdisciplinary scholarship that opens up vistas on Britain’s Australian history as much as Australia’s British history. The book is edited by: Dr Gaye Sculthorpe, Curator and Section Head,  Oceania, The British Museum; Dr Maria Nugent, historian and Co-Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the Australian National University; Professor Howard Morphy, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the Australian National University.

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