GOVERNMENT has expressed optimism over the possible return of the Broken Hill man skull to Zambia as the matter comes up for hearing before UNESCO in Paris tomorrow, 31st May, 2018.
Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Rev. Howard Sikwela, who is in France leading a delegation of experts to present Zambia’s case for the return of the prehistoric skull from the United Kingdom, said it was imperative that the specimen was brought back to the country for purposes of tourism including research in the education sector.
Rev. Sikwela is leading a delegation of experts namely; Collins Chipote – Executive Director National Heritage and Conservation, Mr. Flexon Mizinga – Director General National Museums Board , Professor Francis Musonda – Senior academic, Dept of historical and Archaeological Studies at UNZA and the Zambian Embassy in France to attend to the Case of the Broken Hill Man which was presented to UNESCO last year.
The matter is scheduled to come up before the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property (ICPRCP) to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit appropriation.
Zambia, had earlier requested the UNESCO through the ICPRCP to mediate between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Zambian Government for the return of the specimen which was taken from the country in 1921.
The Skull was discovered in 1921 in Broken Hill, now Kabwe, during a mining excavation by the Rhodesia Broken Hill Development Company who removed it from the country and has been in the custody of the British Natural History Museum ever since.
Zambia has had protracted efforts to recover the early man specimen from the United Kingdom hence the matter being brought before the UNESCO committee.
The Intergovernmental Committee is composed of 22 Member States of UNESCO elected by the General Conference at its ordinary sessions.
It meets in regular plenary session at least once and not more than twice every two years to look into matters of illicit appropriation of cultural property among nations.
Besides the Broken Hill Man case by Zambia, Greece will also present a against the United Kingdom in a bid to recover the Parthenon Sculptures while Turkey will also present the case of the Zeugma Mosaics.
Iraq has since also given notice to present more information regarding a case of the Dead Sea Scrolls.