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The Duckworth Laboratory

The University of Cambridge Policy on Stewardship of Human Remains

In 2010, the University of Cambridge, working with the Director of the Duckworth Laboratory, established a university-wide policy for the handling of claims for repatriation and other forms of transfer of stewardship of human remains in its care. 

All such claims and requests are dealt by the Registrary of the University, to whose office they should be directed in writing. Handling of claims follows clear steps, set out in the document ‘Procedure for handling claims for the transfer of stewardship of human remains’. This adheres closely to the guidelines proposed by the DCMS, and a case for repatriation based on ancestry is expected. A response to the claim from those responsible for the University collection in which the human remains are located will be written, including expert evidence when necessary. All available information will then be assessed by the University’s Human Remains Advisory Panel, which will submit its advice and recommendations to the University Council, who will make the decision regarding the claim.

The Director of the Duckworth Laboratory is responsible for the curatorial and research management of the Duckworth Collection, and for preparing a scientific response to claims received by the University for the repatriation of human remains held in the collections. The decision to retain or repatriate any materials in the collection are made by the University Council following the procedures referred to above.



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