Wednesday, February 28, 2024

UK expresses readiness to engage with Zambia on the return of the Broken Hill Man Skull


Kabwe Broken Hill Man Skull
Kabwe Broken Hill Man Skull

The United Kingdom has expressed readiness to engage with Zambia on bilateral negotiations for the return of the Broken Hill Man Skull.

This is contained in a joint resolution between the two governments adopted at the 21st Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of the Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution of Illicit Appropriation following a case brought against the UK before the Committee at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France on Thursday.

And the Committee has welcomed Zambia’s willingness to engage the UK in bilateral negotiations towards.

Presenting the case on behalf of the Zambian delegation to compel the United Kingdom to return the Broken Hill Skull, National Heritage and Conservation Executive Director Collins Chipote stated that the relic was Zambia’s indigenous and earliest hominine finds.

Mr. Chipote explained that the Skull was discovered in Kabwe on June 17th, 1921 by Tom Zwigglar of the Broken Hill Development Company, during a mining operation after blasting of a kopje and that it was found in association with a number of items including upper jaw, a sacrum, a tibia and two femur fragments.

He added that the skull was of great sentimental value to Zambians and its absence in the country had deprived nationals of the knowledge about technology and human development in the distant past.

Mr. Chipote further stressed skull’s presence in the UK had deprived Zambians of research in human origins leading to inadequate public interest that was needed to pursue the fascinating study of human origins.

He further told the intergovernmental Committee that the justification by the UK that the skull had been placed for public display in the British National History Museum did not address the needs of the Zambian people as most citizens could not afford an air ticket to travel to the museum to view a relic that was in fact theirs.

He said the Skull was taken away from the people who at the time had no say over their property and heritage as colonial authorities presided over affairs of the land now known as Zambia.

After the case presentation, Zambia received overwhelming support from the Committee composed of 22 member states of UNESCO elected by the General Conference at its ordinary sessions including observer states that were in attendance.

Turkey stated that it fully supported Zambia’s case and that it was not justified for the UK to base it’s continued holding onto the relic on legal grounds.

The Turkish delegation stressed the need for bilateral negotiations as fundamental for promoting the return of objects.

Benin who also called for the immediate return of the skull questioned why people needed to go to other continents and not Africa to view or study items related to African heritage.

Earlier, Italy pointed out that the laws could not be used as justification for denying the return of cultural property as they were made by governments and could equally be revised to promote the return of objects to their respective countries of origin.

Other countries that supported Zambia were Argentina, South Africa, Venezuela, Greece, China, Japan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Republic of Korea.

Furthermore, the Committee thanked the United Kingdom for its readiness to engage with Zambia on bilateral and mutual basis on the return of the Broken Hill Man Skull and thereby inviting the UNESCO Director-General to assist in convening necessary meetings between the United Kingdom and Zambia aimed at resolving the matter.

And Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Reverent Dr. Howard Sikwela thanked the 15 out of 22 Member States that spoke and supported Zambia.


  1. Yaba anyway some progress in some ways though not worthy of news … Cause we have serious pressing issues to address than such ancient artfacts … on top of the pressing issues should how we will manage the debts we have accrued …

    • What is Borken Hill Man?

      What is this?

      I live in Europe and have never heard of this at all!

      I have a Phd



    • I bet Lungu has a buyer already lined up.

      Anyway let me zip it, he might just use my skull as a replacement after selling the original

    • What if I came back with my head which probably looks like the Broken Hill Man, would all this Broken Hill Man debacle with the.UK end? The UK and other bamwisa risked their lives coming to the dark continent, Asia and other ‘ undiscovered’ parts of the world. Surely they deserve whatever they looted while our forefathers were sleeping. Lungu and his crooked friends don’t!

    • Why should we be pursuing this by even spending money in the process? This skull is not any different from those that remain undiscovered in the belly of Zambia’s earth. We have more urgent problems in foreign affairs such as how to determine which countries to minimise engagements with before they export their poisonous beliefs and ideologies to us.

    • Its better to keep it there. Here it will be stolen. We can’t even preserve it. We can charge them a fee for keeping it. 10,000 pounds per month I suggest. And backdated to when they stole it from Kabwe.

  2. Where will you keep the skull for display , or will you bury it ?

    Just asking because the last decent museum was in livingstone

  3. Western governments are notorious in stealing antiques that are important to African culture have been exported to benefit other cultures. Items like the ishango bone, Nubian mummies, lucy skeleton(oldest human remains) and who knows what else. We need to start digging up colonialists Cecil Rhodes and display them in museums or better yet beat the living daylights out of their bones like Haitians do. Yes indeed, all other countries have been taking back what belongs to them. Ethiopia has just retrieved their obelisks from Italy, which privatized them when it invaded and lost the war in Ethiopia. Please quickly bring back The Homo Heidelbergensis Skull Broken Hill 1 (Rhodesian Man).By the way any news on Jesus skull?

    • Jesus is a fable, you won’t find any of his remains, not even in a 1000 years, it’s all an imagination.

  4. 25,000 to possibly 400,000 YA. The Homo heidelbergensis Skull Broken Hill 1 (Rhodesian Man) was discovered in Kabwe, Zambia (formerly Rhodesia), by miner T. Zwigelaar and originally described by A. Woodward in 1921 in Nature as Rhodesian Man (H. rhodesiensis). This is the first human ancestor to be found in Africa. Once considered to be only 40,000 years old, which would make it a contemporary of Homo sapiens in Europe, the skull was pointed to by some as evidence of the “primitiveness” of Africans. Subsequent evidence led to the more correct dating of at least 125,000 YA. The skull shares features of both Homo erectus (heavy browridge) and Homo sapiens (flatter face, large brain (1300 cc). The Bone Clones® Hominid line is composed of discoveries from anatomically modern humans, archaic…

    • CONT’D..
      The Bone Clones® Hominid line is composed of discoveries from anatomically modern humans, archaic humans, early Homo, early hominins, and other hominids. The majority of the casts in this line have been recreated by our team of anatomical sculptors. Some are reconstructions made by anthropology professionals using fragmentary elements from original discoveries and extrapolating the missing parts from those (i.e. Neanderthal skeleton).

  5. To the utterly Lazy Lungu govt a school is classified as a wasted asset what more a museum or a library…they only know how to put up Shopping Malls

    • I thought the malls are owned (share holder) by your god HH. Well a lazy guy beat a five time loser and contester at first attempt.What a douchiebag Gay Gay b!tch trying by any-means to counteract and he ends up contradicting himself…

    • How am I contradicting myself? When have I been a proponent of shopping mall construction? Silly toddler…

  6. Useless , National Heritage and Conservation Executive Director Collins Chipote……where will you keep this skull ?

    The clever thing to do was GRZ should have negociated with the British museum for continuous support in environmental and history lessons for our schools……you should have squeezed some sort of educational support instead of crying for the skull..

  7. @ Spaka spot on. The next thing you will hear is that they have sold the skull to Turkey. There is a lot they could have squeezed out of this including annual sponsorship and historian archival training for Zambians. Or even lease it for some tangible annual benefit.
    Turkey supported them but had long term strategic goals, alas we only have short term goals

    • That is what I should have done , even if the British museum sponsored and trained one zambian enviriomentalist/year for as long as they had the skull it would be well earned inheritance from broken hill man to mother zambia.

    • You guys are encouraging more begging hey, how economically sustainable hey.. smh

      Let the skull of our Ancestor be returned home, it doesn’t deserve to be in a foreign land, this is such an insult, symbolic of our defeat for this skull to have continued to be away from home.

  8. Zambians know that the majority of UPND supporters are irrational and dull. Most of their contributions are vindictive and stem from hatred and tribal innuendos inculcated from polygamists parents such us lazy bum father of the online chief hooligan and bully (HaJJ) of the tribal wing of the tribal gathering posing as a party. The words of Africa’s philosopher and former president may be applied to these losers because Childish and his followers do not have fair play! The problem UPND has is, “Ignorance, hunger (anger), disease, poverty and its offshoots of exploitation of man by man (HH).

  9. I’m tempted to support this move. But, our milleniual kids don’t give a sh!t about history. Leave the skull where it will be preserved and put to better use. We have no proper place and capacity to look after our heritage. Until then, we will get the skull and start begging for funding to preserve it.

    • Speak for yourself.. I’m a millennial and I see the importance of history.. only fools ignore their history.

  10. Chagwa, Chimpyongo, & Kaizer will sell the Broken hill skull to the Chinese.
    Wait till we have a sober non thieving government in place.

    • Do you people analyse your comments before posting? China has more exciting history than the nonsense you’re debating here.

    • Iwe ka Sharon, go & bath, & don’t forget ku suka kunyansi.
      You brain does not function due to too much madoti.

  11. Let us just rent it out to the British museum on long term and use the money to upgrade and look after our museums and artefacts that are here.

  12. Abasungu of the union Jack were great thieves .Greece wants its Elgin marbles back ,Zambia wants its historic skull back,South Africans want their lands back,Spain wants Gibraltar back ,Argentina wants Malvinas islnds back.

  13. Bring the remains of my ancestor back. They should bring back all the intellectual materials and money they have made on this skull.

  14. On the one hand, the UK has looted stuff from all over the world that it should probably give back, but on the other hand they punch above their weight in research and expertise. Zambia and the UK should keep talking and see what we can learn together, respecting our mutual interests and cultures.

  15. The big question is?? What proof are we Zambians going to have that will indicate the returned skull to being the original and not a copy??

    Food for thought

  16. Why should we Politic everything?
    what you eat dont make me sh**. it might be useless conversation and effort to bring this skull back home to you but may be a very important to a Zambian Archaeologist and a student that of.
    food for thought indeed.

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