1 Apr 2019

Norway agrees to hand back Rapa Nui artefacts

7:48 pm on 1 April 2019

A museum in Norway will hand back thousands of artefacts an explorer took from Rapa Nui, or Easter Island.

An agreement was signed last Thursday by descendants of Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl and Chile's Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Consuelo Valdés.

The artefacts, which include human remains, were appropriated in the 1950s and are being exhibited at Oslo's Kon-Tiki Museum.

Talks began last October and the museum's director Martin Biehl said the repatriation process would take time.

"Our common interest is that the objects are returned and, above all, delivered to a well-equipped museum," the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

The son of Mr Heyerdahl, who died in 2002 aged 87, attended Thursday's signing ceremony and said his father had promised to repatriate the artefacts once they had been analysed and published.

In October, Rapa Nui officials also started negotiating the return of a stolen moai, or statue, held at the British Museum in London.

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